4 thankful opportunities

Thanksgiving can be so much more than a festive meal, spending time with the people we love, and being thankful for what we have. It can also be an opportunity to think about the kind of person we want to be and show our appreciation for others.

On Thanksgiving, let’s take some time to reflect on who you want to be, to share your thankful memories, to be thankful, and to do small acts of thankfulness.

* Reflect. Oprah Winfrey reminds us: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Theodore Roosevelt inspires us: “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

* Share. Create an “I am Thankful” book and add drawings or photos and pictures from magazines (the Scholastic website has a nice printable “I am Thankful” book). You can also family, friends, and classmates to each create an “I am Thankful” page on scrapbook paper and put it together in a book. Or take it a step further, and keep a “Gratitude Journal” all year long.

* Be. “The Pillsbury Doughboy has that endearing quality that when you poke him he doesn’t flare up but automatically responds with a friendly, perky, “Oh!” I want to be like him,” writes Dr. Ralph F. Wilson in “Overflowing with thankfulness.” “Not so plump, mind you, but that full of friendliness. When someone pokes me I want my first instinct to be thankfulness rather than anger. I want people to find thankfulness oozing out of me.”

* Do. Small notes of thanks or hand-made cards are a nice and inexpensive way to thank the people around you, from teachers and mail carriers to store cashiers and bank tellers. We can also show our appreciation to American service members, veterans, and their families through the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program. You can mail holiday cards (please read the guidelines first) by December 9, 2011 to: Holiday Mail For Heroes, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories? How do you show that you are thankful?

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