Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What happened to Thanksgiving?


Obviously I'm not the first to think it, especially after my 5-year old asked his mother, "Aren't we supposed to do Thanksgiving before Christmas?" An article posted from a Houston, Texas, newspaper, The Observer, said that "Thanksgiving is that kid that no one wants to play with on the playground." Another blogger, Robert Loftus, posted on +Ask A Great Dad that his favorite holiday is Thanksgiving but "as soon as Halloween was over, the American public was forced to focus on Christmas, and not the religious aspect, unless your religion is consumerism." Again, a true statement...


So, whatever happened to Thanksgiving? Typically it's been a Holiday of excess (mostly food) when most people develop their annual aversion to turkey after consuming it for at least one week in a variety of leftovers. Thankfully (no pun intended), +Allrecipes has an array of recipes that should keep your lunch pails diverse enough to subdue your aversions... until next Thanksgiving at least. Another, more unfortunate tradition, and obviously not nearly as intentional, are motor accidents.



The +National Safety Council anticipates/predicts 418 auto fatalities this season; the second highest since 2007. The study, presented Nov 6, 2014, can be found here. Aside from statistics and depressing numbers, I echo the sentiments of my peers...

WHAT HAPPENED TO THANKSGIVING?!


Well, first a brief history lesson... According to +HISTORY, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated after the Pilgrims' first successful corn harvest (coincidentally in November); thanks largely in part to the Wampanoag tribe. This 50-year relationship also "marked the sole example of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans." Don't believe me? Read it for yourself! It wasn't until 1863, "in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November." So there you have it, 'how it all began'.

Unfortunately, like our friend Robert Loftus said, it would appear that our beloved Holiday has been reduced to commercialism and Christmas anticipation. So how can we bring back the feeling of "thankfulness" and gratitude? After all, shouldn't we celebrate the memory of our ancestors who had the guts to get on a ship, sail across an unknown ocean (to them at least), and open their minds to the spirit of exploration? The accompanying vessel, The Speedwell, sprung a leak and was forced to turn back. At first appearance, it would seem that they had the brunt of the luck since Pilgrims aboard The Mayflower faced a harsh winter and disease which killed-off more than half of them before seeing their first New England Spring.

Nowadays we're faced with Black Friday ads, "Door-busting deals" and commercials that resemble more of a Nation of consumers than grateful descendants. But why not? We invented the wheel!! Well, practically... Like it or not your neighbor's Christmas lights are up, your kids are already telling you what they want for Christmas (as opposed to hoping Santa brings them that new bicycle they wanted all year) and then providing constant updates to this request every 10-15 minutes as new commercials pop-up on our televisions. So what's wrong with commerce? Nothing, I say. Commercialism? It's what makes our world go 'round doesn't it? The buying and selling of goods and services providing income for our families, right?

Well, I won't be a neigh-sayer since I particularly enjoy all the "deals". To be honest, I'm the guy walking around the store slowly, clogging up the aisle with my empty cart, who has no intention of buying anything. Yes, I get my kicks from frustrating everyone else. I think I'll enjoy it more this year than any other. Mostly because all of those "great deals" that people are camping-out or waiting patiently by the door for can be found online, with free shipping, and guaranteed in-stock. Don't believe me? Check out the most recent ad from +Best Buy and see for yourself. This is only one example but believe me, +Amazon.com has some great deals going on, too! Go on, shop 'till you drop, and feel free to go around me; I'm just browsing.

But don't let all that commercialism get you down. Just don't forget how you got here. Unless you're of  Native American descent (of which less than 2% reported on the most recent +United States Census Bureau) the majority of us got here on a boat, somehow, within the past 400 years. Thanksgiving isn't the only holiday that's being re-labeled as a "sale" though. Veteran's Day saw record commercialism, i.e. advertising as well as consuming. In a 2008 article from BusinessPundit.com, the Fourth of July has turned into fireworks and Bar-B-Ques, shaking your grandfather's hand and saying 'thanks for your service' while the other 364 days of the year find us squabbling over our "rights" and "freedoms" that we, as Americans, believe we have an inherent 'right' to simply for being born here; just don't forget how we got those freedoms on those other 364 days and try celebrating the opportunity we have to even HAVE differing opinions. Celebrate the views of others and agree to disagree, for lack of a better word...

Ultimately it's up to you....Celebrate Thanksgiving how you want. I'm going to politely ask though, that you turn down your Christmas lights for another 24 hours, please. So where did Thanksgiving go? I live it everyday. I'm thankful for waking up today, for making it to the end of the day 'happy, healthy, and safe', and for being home with my family. In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one."

#thanksgiving #BlackFriday #Pilgrims

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back to School....

Before I get too far into this I had to share this...+The Holderness Family . really outdid themselves with this one.


So it's back to school time and for us, a homeschooling family of four, that can be very different... but not this year! We decided to put all four of our children in school which has turned out to be quite a blessing. The oldest was accepted to a Baccalaureate-prep school while the three younger were accepted to a Charter school nearby. Yea, us! Then there are the typical fears that go along with public schools that we've already seen in the news; how do you avoid that?

The most prevalent fears from students though is bullying, in all forms, whether it be because you don't have the newest Pokemon cards or you just dressed funny. I posted two separate articles on the subject back in August of 2013 and again in September of 2013. I encourage you to check them both out as they have some excellent resources. I think it's safe to say "If you see something, say something!" Often times people, not just children, feel powerless about something that's going on because they don't believe they can stop it. Someone can! But you have to say something first. There's a huge anti-terrorism campaign run by the +U.S. Department of Homeland Security that revolves around this slogan as well. I would encourage anyone to use it when they see something happening. 


Parents may wonder "what to do while the kids are in school?+Circle of Moms answered this question recently. The most popular answer was, "ME time", and I can't blame you. The next most popular answer was "volunteering at their child's school" which is practically going to be my wife's second job! The charter school our younger three attend requires 20 hours of volunteer service PER child PER year. That's not really colossal when you say "60 hours a year", but remember that a school year isn't that long and most part-time jobs are 40 hours a week, to put it in perspective. It looks like public school will keep us busier than homeschooling! But isn't that the fun part?

Finally, the first time-ers... you know who you are! The one in the drop-off line that is crying, holding and hugging, and keeping the rest of traffic backed up almost a mile down the road because you just now realized that your child is going to be gone for 8 hours of your day for the first time in their lives and it just occurred to you! Our youngest started Kindergarten this year and I didn't get to drop him off, mom did. But I shared that moment through pictures and Google+ posts and honestly, probably got the better end of it. I wasn't chasing children around, brushing hair, etc. I got to enjoy the moment through photos. But... mom walked them to school and saw them off so she could sob on the way home. Thoughtful mom... They all did great though!

I just wanted to share this video with you and maybe add some advice to your already hectic day and hopefully you can encourage or support someone you know with the tips found here. Be safe out there!

#Pokemon #Back2School #SeeSomethingSaySomething 

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