On Thanksgiving, we don’t carve the turkey with a knife in my house. My two brothers and I dig in with our hands, taking the bird apart while standing shoulder to shoulder. Then, we sit down and each person at our table says something they love about the person seated to their right. Those are two of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.
Another thing I enjoy doing during Thanksgiving is evaluating the previous year. I take stock of the things I learned and consider what went well (or not) with my spouse, kids, and friends. It’s a helpful exercise because it sparks great memories and also builds gratitude. I think that’s something all of us need more of. When you sit down with your loved ones this week, here are 3 questions to ask at your Thanksgiving table.
1. What victory from this year makes you thankful?
Even “down years” have victories. Each one is worth celebrating. Reflect on them, find some quiet time alone, and write down your wins. Did you get promoted? Did you go on a memorable camping trip with your son? Did you and your spouse have a relationship breakthrough? Remember to be thankful for each one, big and small.
2. What struggle from this year makes you thankful?
Even “great years” have at least a few low moments. Sometimes the contract falls through. Sometimes you have a tough medical year. There have been seasons of my life when work felt extra challenging. But experiencing struggles doesn’t mean the year’s hardships were a net negative. Difficulties can help us appreciate good times and our toughest moments often become great teachers. We grow emotionally, morally, and spiritually from the lessons we learn through adversity.
3. What person or relationship from this year makes you thankful?
Who comes to mind when you think about your most special relationships? I’m so thankful for my wife, Susan. Every day with her is a gift, but there are many other relationships that make me thankful, too. I have coworkers I cherish, and I’m thankful for their support. I went on a trip to Europe this year with friends I’ve known for decades. I’m thankful we’ve been close all these years. I’m even thankful for the people I don’t always get along with because they push me to be more patient. Your relationships offer you chances for gratitude, and each one helps shape you.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Share in a comment.