Staying Thankful

Posted by: Lisa Yoskowitz, ECE Director

Thankful - /THaNGKful/ Adjective • Expressing gratitude and relief • “An earnest and thankful prayer.” • Synonyms: grateful, appreciative, to be filled with gratitude.

Sitting together at the Thanksgiving table reminds me of the need to be thankful. Here we are enveloped in the warmth of family, the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen and the coziness of the environment. How could we not be thankful? But shouldn’t everyday be Thanksgiving? (Not the part of the holiday that calls for gorging on turkey and pumpkin pie or being lazy with family and friends, but the part where people deliberately pause to reflect and count their blessings.) Wouldn’t it be great to live each day with gratitude in our hearts and in our minds? To help with this process, I’ve compiled a list of ways to do this:

  1. Focus on being grateful. Learn to be grateful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want. One of the greatest lessons in life we can learn is to be thankful for what we already have. But gratitude can indeed be a “work in progress” so to prepare our hearts to be reflective and thankful can be a process and not always the “ah-ha” moment that we hope for.
  2. Appreciate the things you have. The great secret of life is to cultivate the ability to appreciate the things we have, not compare them. Do not take for granted the many things we have that we did nothing to earn, such as life itself, the beauty of nature, the great country that we live in, or the love of our family and friends. 
  3. Have an attitude with gratitude.

As the mind goes, so go the emotions. In the hustle of to-do lists and work deadlines, sometimes it’s too easy to block out the details of the day, forgetting that each and every day holds precious gifts. One very important aspect of life that I am thankful for is the community here at the JCC and the Early Learning Center. So, if you want to come out and hone your newly acquired “gratitude skills” this is the place to do just that! Perhaps that is why the Talmud (Menahot 43b) commands us to say one hundred blessings, one hundred things to be thankful for, every day. Now, that may sound like a lot of blessings to say, but if the assignment was, “come up with one hundred things to complain about every day,” my guess is that we could all do that in about three and a half minutes. The truth is, how we view the world affects how we act in the world. We certainly have one hundred things that we do every day — make phone calls, hold meetings, eat meals. The question is, through what lens do we look at those events? And if we try to find one hundred things to be thankful for every day, we begin to experience our world as a world that is renewed with blessings each and every day. 

This Thanksgiving, may you remember that gratitude helps you fall in love with the life you already have.

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