Thanksgiving is a genuine American holiday celebrated from our country’s infancy. Many of you are packing or cooking, planning or preparing. Our celebrations are far more expensive this year and, dare I say, relationship-wise. But, we can successfully gather and give thanks if we remember a few simple lessons. I like to use the acronym P.L.A.N. and the 5 Ps. Perhaps a suggestion or two here will help make your Thanksgiving 2022 a great day.
For the most part, politics, relatives, and turkey don’t mix. Maybe you know this all too well. It’s a recipe for disaster in many extended families. Generation X may hold your politics and religion against you. Millennials seek a “safe space” when you show up. Baby Boomers may be ready for a verbal battle, armed with evidence from their favorite media outlet. Baby Boomers can’t hold the proverbial bottomless glass like they used to, so things can get tacky rather quickly. Great-Grandma and Grandpa from the Silent Generation are quiet in the corner. Younger generations grow tired of hearing their elders’ same stories on repeat. At times, there are those of us who do not feel welcome if we go to and are made to feel guilty if we don’t.
These are contentious times, but we can navigate rough relational waters with a little common sense.
P.L.A.N. for Thanksgiving 2022
Without further delay, here’s the Common Sense Civics and Citizenship guide to P.L.A.N. a happy holiday and a happier Thanksgiving:
P. (No) Politics. If someone starts talking about a highly controversial topic or political figure, ask them to please pass the turkey with gravy. A brief interlude can move the tempest in the teapot to a simmer. You might find that asking a non-political question can turn the entire day around for everyone.
Additionally, if certain people aren’t interested in hearing from you, show an interest in them apart from dinnertime. Ask good questions about the other person that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer. You might ask what projects they have worked on this year on the job or the home front. How about asking what was the most fun thing they did this year? What did they love about it the most? And remember, the little ones and the elderly would love to talk to you. A person who asks good questions never lacks friends.
(I especially love this next one, albeit hard to do).
L. Listen. If you are quick to listen, you’ll be slower to become irritated with political views. I’m a firm believer in letting others hear themselves and define out loud what they believe. Sometimes they parrot what the professor said or what their favorite media outlet has preached. Let them own it. Just listen. It costs you nothing to listen. It does not imply tacit approval. They already know you have a different “take” on the issues. Some people have never heard themselves articulate their beliefs out loud. That’s a good reason to “get out of the way” and let them. It can be a real eye-opener.
A.- Action, not Anger- Excuse yourself for a moment if you find yourself getting uptight. Use the restroom, offer to help with the baby, or make a trip out to the car because you need to “check on something.” Anger never works. Neither does the silent treatment.
N.- Never yield the moral high ground to win an argument or to gain approval (aka people-pleasing). We know right from wrong. Do not go along to get along with something you know is morally wrong. You will lose in the long run if you yield.
That’s the P.L.A.N., but there’s more. How about the 5 Ps? I learned these long ago and keep them handy in my arsenal year ’round:
Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
It works like magic. Instead of winging it, or worse, expecting failure, prepare emotionally, mentally, and physically for your own sanity’s sake. If I’ve done the best I can, I leave the results to God. I can’t control others’ moods, addictions, verbiage, laziness, etc. I decide to have the best time preparing for the event and let people be people. They’re going to do what they do. In response, prepare to do the next right thing, whatever that may be.
I’m grateful for each one of you. Thank you for being here! Happy Thanksgiving, one and all! 🇺🇸
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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