Thanksgiving, the time when we give thanks not just FOR, but TO those who have been an important part of our lives… not the only time I hope, but certainly an “official” time. I feel the need to once again propose we all try a Social Thanksgiving – one where we focus on the true meaning and value of relationships, and take the time to pay attention to others first (and ourselves next).
Make this Thanksgiving the Start of… “OK, I will do it”
Before the Internet, and social platforms, we had to rely on visits, telephone calls and letters to stay in touch with our friends, family, business associates, and acquaintances. But today there are so many opportunities to stay close to everyone. We can participate with them vicariously from afar via the simplest of interactions, including texts, video, FaceTime (so envious I did not have this when my girls were young), seeing their social posts, and feeling a part of interactions, events, and conversations.
As many of my friends and followers have come to know, my daughters mean everything to me. And as a divorced dad, I’ve had to fight, and give up a lot, to spend precious time with them… and continue to have to do so. But I’m particularly thankful that in today’s age, “spending time” with my daughters isn’t limited to in-person time. It took a long time, but I finally come to terms with the fact that I get to spend very little actual time with my girls—which has been very tough for me. However, I’m very grateful for the “moments” (like last month with Niki when I visited her in Cambridge) I’ve been able to have with each of them, and also of the ways I can stay in touch and be involved in their lives from a distance simply by seeing what they are up to via their social posts (even if my older daughter blocks my access… thank goodness for Google searches that get through and find social posts nonetheless). Just the act of thinking of my girls, holding them in my thoughts and remembering those special moments gives rise to feelings of love and gratitude. I think our internal “connection” with those we love has a lot more power than we think. No matter what others do, think, or feel, we always, always hold what we have in our hearts… see minute 4:38 in my video here: https://www.facebook.com/tedrubin/videos/10153898067108401/ #ThisDadWontQuit
I guess the Thanksgiving lesson in this is the special “Return on Relationship” you get when you’re just grateful for the relationship… past, present, and future. When you stop worrying about what you don’t have and what you weren’t able to do (I am working hard personally on this one) and just let go and appreciate the time, moments, and memories you have had, wonderful feelings can fill your thoughts. You get to share more moments, both in-person, and via so many other connections.
Focus on what you can do today to build better relationships, be a better friend, family member, colleague, advisor, mentor, and general human being… we need it now more that ever.
A story that my Uncle shared with me a couple of years ago the night before Thanksgiving is so on point, about my first cousin once removed, his youngest grandchild Natalya (Nanoush) Rubin (5 years old at the time), says it perfectly. My Uncle Harvey and Aunt Judith would pick her up from school once a week. One day she gets in the car and immediately, jumps in her car seat strapping herself in with the seatbelt, Judith puts hers on, and says… “Harvey put on your seatbelt” he says… “ok.” Natalya chimes in… “Papa, there are two kinds of OK’s… there is ‘OK,’ and ‘OK, I will do it.’”
So be the person, starting now, who says… “OK, I will do it.”
This Thanksgiving, I thank each of you for building me up and helping me shine my light, and I hope I have the chance to do the same for you! Now please pass the Thanksgiving #vegangoodness and “pardon” a Turkey.