Whatever the holiday is about for you, giving some thought to these two things will make it more meaningful.
In America this week, millions of people will be sitting down to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Americans will watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, eat the traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings, visit with family and friends, and maybe even watch a traditional NFL football game. Many will enjoy time off from work and just spending time at home with loved ones. Family dinner, for a moment anyway, will look like a Norman Rockwell painting.
I obviously enjoy all the traditional parts of Thanksgiving. My mouth waters at the thought of turkey and I savor a good piece of pumpkin pie.
But here are two things many people don’t think about at Thanksgiving.
#1. Being Thankful
I’m thankful for my wife — I am thankful for my amazing wife who loves me, supports me, takes care of me, and, by being in my life, makes me a better man in every way. I am thankful that I have an extraordinary marriage and it brings us both joy. That the two of us are better together then we are separately. I am thankful we get to spend time together not only at thanksgiving, but every day.
I’m thankful for my home — I am thankful for my Cape Cod style home on our quiet acreage in Pennsylvania Amish country. I love the woods in the back, our three crazy cats and the Amish buggies that go by our house a few times an hour. I love our beautiful bedroom and the way it is decorated. It is an oasis and a great place to chill, read, and relax. I love my home not for the bricks and mortar but for what home feels like. It is our refuge protecting us from the storms of life.
I’m thankful for my health — I am so thankful that I am 57 and in great health and feel younger than my age. I am glad to be alive and love soaking up the beauty of each day. I know there are people who have struggles with their health. Whenever I visit a friend in the hospital I notice so many people who are less fortunate. I know I am so damn lucky to be healthy and to be alive.
I’m thankful for my faith — I am so thankful for my faith and love going to mass with my wife. It is so beautiful and meaningful and I feel so at peace and can feel the love of God there. I am so amazed by the kindness and wisdom of my priests. They have helped me so much and are so dedicated and serve so unselfishly.
I’m thankful for my family — I am thankful for my Mom and Dad, and how they raised me in a positive optimistic home that was filled with love and laughter. I am thankful they are in their eighties and are still healthy and vibrant. I talk with many people who have lost their parents at a young age. I still have mine. I am so glad a have a great brother and sister and many wonderful Aunts, Uncles and cousins.
I’m thankful for my friends – I am thankful for amazing friends who support me and always “have my back.” I could call my best friend Dave at 3:00 in the morning and he would answer the phone and ask what I needed — no other questions asked. I can count my friends.
I’m thankful for my business — I have now had my own business as a speaker, author, trainer, coach and consultant, and I get to work with amazing clients, and get to meet cool people and learn about many different businesses.
Giving Thanks –– To me thanks–giving is also about giving thanks to others. I make sure to let people know I am thankful for them and try to give thanks back. Far too many people go to someone’s funeral and say so many wonderful things about them, but do they tell them when they are alive? Do they who how you feel? I make sure to tell them. Whenever I talk to my Dad on the phone he always tells me he loves me before we hang up.
Giving compliments –– If someone is beautiful tell them. You may just make their day. If really enjoy working with someone tell them, and tell them why. “I really enjoy working with you because you are so creative.” As a trainer and consultant, I often do an exercise where I ask a team I am working with to get in a circle and then I start with one person and I say “OK, we have 12 people sitting in the circle. We are going to start with Sue first. Each person is going to look at her and say one thing they like about Sue.” In the group 12 people then say something positive about Sue, one at a time. I often find in this exercise two things happen 1) Sue ends up in tears because she is so touched, and 2) people are amazed by what is said about them. Why? No one they worked with ever said those things.
Giving back to the world — Another version of thanks-giving is to give back to your community through volunteer work, helping out a charity, helping someone in need who needs help, helping your neighbor for no reason than to give from your heart.
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