Monday, November 5, 2012

A Little Thanksgiving Challenge

I don’t know about you, but when November comes around, all I can seem to think about are the holidays. The holiday season truly starts off with a great one, Thanksgiving. My mom is going to make a tasty turkey and, my favorite, green bean casserole. Our whole family will sit around the dinner table and talk and laugh, between stuffing our faces with food. Thanksgiving makes my stomach happy and my heart full. So, this being my first time away from home for longer than two days, I decided to look a little more into Thanksgiving and what it truly is about. It turns out, there is so much more to turkey day then, well, turkey.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their first harvest.  The settlers were a group of English Protestants who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to America in order to separate themselves from The Church of England. After a long travel across the Atlantic, the group of 101 settlers settled in what is now known as Cape Cod. When they arrived, they instantly began preparing for the cold weather ahead. They prepared by gathering anything they could but simply gathering would not get the new settlers through the winter. Suddenly, they found a group of supplies already set for winter and decided to take them. Little did they know, those supplies belonged to the Native American group Wampanoag. After losing too many supplies, a Wampanoag named Squanto went to the settlers and offered to help them plant crops if they would stop stealing their supplies. The settlers later made a formal agreement to work with the Wampanoag and to protect each other.  

The First Thanksgiving, reproduction of an oil painting by J.L.G. Ferris, early 20th century.

After the agreement, the settlers decided to celebrate the success of their harvest thanks to the help of Squanto. In order to have a great feast, the settlers decided to hunt for meat to add to the feast. In hearing the gunshots, the Wampanoag feared the settlers were turning against them. They decided to visit the settlers and make sure they were not in danger of entering war. When they visited, the Native Americans saw the settlers were hunting for a feast, so, they decided to help! Thanks to the hard work of both the settlers and Native Americans, they feasted and celebrated together for three whole days. They took their celebration as a time to enjoy the grand harvest and thank each other for all of the help they provided. Thus, this was the very first Thanksgiving celebration.

So, this Thanksgiving I am going to challenge you all. As you are home for the holiday, look around. Take the time away from school or work to notice all of the things you have to be grateful for. Remember why you love the ones you hold closest to your heart. But, beyond reflection, share what you are thankful for. Here at Femi Memorial Outreach, we have much to be thankful for. We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with schools and tutor students with the support of our donor. The staff is very thankful to attend a university and interact with the community around them.

Thanksgiving is a time to recognize all you are thankful for, whether it is your family, friends, shelter, or health. I challenge you to put all of your thanks into words and share them with the people around you.

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade, Chicago.

If you accept this challenge, tell us about it! Leave a comment about how your Thanksgiving was and how you decided to show your thankfulness.

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