Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Four Plus a G: Family, Food, Friends, and Fun Plus Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is my favorite holiday. It is less commercialized (thus it gets squeezed out by Halloween candy and Christmas decorations), but that is only one reason I love it.

Thanksgiving is, at core, all about family, food, friends, and fun. It is a renowned connection time. The meal is so huge it requires cooperating cooks and cleaners. “Together we can” is a Thanksgiving mantra.

But beyond the Big Four is the center of the core, gratitude. Be grateful tomorrow. Be grateful all week. Be grateful forever. Even if you have little, there are those in the world with less.

When we are truly grateful, it is easier to reflect on how we can give back. We recently watched “Pay It Forward”. I KNOW! The whole world saw it before we did. That’s not the point. We finally did see it. Now, I don’t know about you, but it did have it saccharine moments. But even if you found the movie sappy, the premise could occasion some discussion. In my home for example we talked about “Pass It On” and “Pay It Forward,” related concepts.

Hubby: “Pass it On” has been around for a long time. This movie didn’t start the idea, so why such a big deal about the movie?”

Sage Wife: Ah, Confucius say not to confuse one with other.

I am a fan of “Pass it On”. I have offered my spot in the grocery store line to someone behind me with few items. I’ve paid for someone else’s meal. “Pass It On” is spontaneous and situational. I hope the recipient will “Pass it On”, spread the good will, create a climate of caring support in all the little ways that make up our days. But there is no way to know if the person even got the message you were sending.

However, “Pay It Forward” is a whole other level of giving. It is not anonymous giving. It is planful giving with the recipient known and the single most important change to be made in that person identified.

The point is to make sure that the person being helped knows you are helping and why and what their responsibility is for receiving the help. It also has to be grand scale, something life-changing, or it is not eligible for “Pay It Forward” status. Being a recipient of “Pay It Forward” obligates the recipient to find three others and affect their lives in a major way. And those three will affect three more lives. Exponentially, ”Pay It Forward” has the potential to change the entire world, one life at a time. What a wonderful vision that is!

I am taking a break for the holiday. See you again on Monday. Enjoy your time with friends and family. And maybe dinner conversation could include a small discussion of how each of us can “Pay It Forward” to change the world.

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