I work at a public university where I spend most of my day managing a program that supports college students . Most of them are the first to go to college in their families. It is a wonderful vocation (a calling) and I enjoy my days being surrounded by a caring professional staff and hundreds of students who are practicing “delayed gratification” in order to create a brighter future for themselves and their families.
Throughout the nearly 19 years of doing this type of work, I noticed a common characteristics though among many of our students. Toward the end of their semesters, the students get very focused on the demands in front of them and lose sight of a greater perspective with regards to the greater world around them. It easy to do – for all of us.
To provide some balance, I decided some time ago to make November our “Gratitude Month.” We provide posters for our students to write what they are thankful for – big or small. They also raise some money for the Make A Wish foundation during this time. Through the years, they’ve raised over $80,000.
In return, we like to cook a “Gratitude Meal” for them – mash potatoes, turkey, ham, bread rolls, cranberry sauce, corn, enchiladas, pies, cakes, and drinks. It looks like a home cooked meal and they are very grateful …and hungry. Chico Student Success Center
This year, I went our to the local major department stores looking for traditional American Thanksgiving decor such as napkins, tablecloths, paper plates, and decorations. This was two weeks before the date of the American Thanksgiving. Guess what? There was little to none Harvest decor to be found. Seems that all the retail space was more valuable for stocking Christmas items. Santa Claus seems to have taken Thanksgiving out back behind the store and kicked the heck out it. Thrown out the squatter.
Now I LOVE Christmas – but for my well being, I NEED Thanksgiving. I cannot allow the greed of modern day Christmas to run over the gratitude that serves to be the very foundation of a joyful life. The song says, ‘Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer’ but we can’t let that crazy deer run over Thankfulness too.
Below is a beautiful song by Chuck Aaron. He is one of my favorites on Soundcloud. Give it a complete listen. It really captures the feeling of a Northern American Autumn. Fall (Favorite Time of the Year)