Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Musings

“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”  ~W.J. Cameron  

I share the above quote with you for two reasons: First, I want us all to take a moment to truly appreciate the things we have, not just by saying “Thanks” but by taking action. You can show gratitude with a kind word, a charitable donation, or a change of mind/heart.  During this special holiday, we all could stand to be a little more selfless and a little less hectic.  And a little more “doing.”

I chose W.J. Cameron specifically to quote because he was a pretty notorious red-headed gentleman. Red-heads are supposed to be hot-headed, right? Well, apparently this trait isn’t limited to read-heads.

Have you heard about the tragic beating of a young child because of his hair color? Read the story here 

I absolutely cannot believe that kids would be “inspired” by a cartoon character to beat up on a classmate -- just because he had red hair.  Apparently, a 12-year-old boy was beaten up on the campus of A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas by as many as 14 of his classmates! The students who participated in the attack were allegedly motivated by a Facebook message telling them that November 20th was “Kick a Ginger Day.” (A ‘ginger’ is a label that was used in a South Park episode for people with red hair, freckles and fair skin). This episode aired in 2005 to satirize racial intolerance – but the 12-year-olds evidently didn’t understand the satire and took it literally.

I want to echo the comments of several HLN experts who said very clearly that it is not the “fault” of the TV cartoon, but rather the fault of the parents for not explaining the different between TV satire and real life. There is always going to be violence and intolerance portrayed in the media (online, on TV, in videos, and in the movies). It is the job of every parent to help their kids distinguish between a “joke” and real-life hateful/unacceptable behavior.   So this weekend, while you are taking time to be thankful, perhaps you can use this example around the family dinner table to talk about tolerance with your kids! 

Finally, I received another one of those gratitude lists via email called “Why I Am Thankful”, and I thought it was apropos (and actually worth sharing):

I am thankful for the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes, because it means she is at home.

I am thankful for the taxes I pay, because it means that I am employed.

I am thankful for the mess to clean up after a party, because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

I am thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snugly, because it means I have enough to eat.

I am thankful for all the complaining I hear in the media, because it means I have freedom of speech.

I am thankful for the huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.

I am thankful for the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clean clothes to wear.

I am thankful for the parking spot at the far end of the lot, because it means I am capable of walking.

I am thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means I am able to get up.

I am thankful for too much email because it means I have friends and colleagues who are thinking of me!

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving! 

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