Happy Thanksgiving! Really? I have heard more than one express they cannot wait for the year to be over! Many have experienced heartache over the loss of their health – a job – a business – a loved one – a political candidate . . . and more. The question to ask is, “In the midst of these trying times, is there anything to give thanks for?” I believe the answer is a resounding “Yes!” … “Imagine That™”!
History of Our Thanksgiving Heritage
No doubt you already know this . . . but I “rediscovered” that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the New World in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation, which is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was a three-day feast to celebrate the Pilgrim’s first harvest in the New World – and that they had actually survived the hostile conditions of a Massachusetts winter. In fact, only 57 of the 102 brave-hearted immigrants aboard the Mayflower survived the first winter.
Later, in 1863, during the height of the American Civil War, Thanksgiving became a national holiday when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Times Have Changed Since the 1st Thanksgiving
Times sure have changed since the first Thanksgiving, and even since the Civil War. The harvest no longer has the significance it once had since we no longer are an agrarian society. Instead, we simply drive over to our nearby supermarket and “battle” over getting the last package of toilet paper (at least while COVID-19 continues to affect us.)
Kidding aside, despite COVID-19 and other challenges, there are still many blessings to be seen in our lives and for all those living in this country. Thanksgiving itself is one of the least commercialized holidays remaining in the U.S. – for which I am “thankful.” No need to buy and exchange presents and so forth. We can, instead, focus on family, friends, (for some – football), a home-cooked meal and on things for which each of us can be grateful. Despite the current virus situation causing disruptions to large-scale celebrations, many families and friends will, none-the-less, still manage to be connected through cell phones and the internet – and pause to give thanks.
What I Am Grateful For . . .
Thanksgiving gives us a marker to step back and reflect on all we can be grateful for. Simply waking up in America, for example, puts virtually all of us in the upper 6% of the world’s wealth. Most of us know where to obtain a hot meal and shower – clothing – clean water to drink – shelter and sleep without fear of unlawful arrest. Billions in the world, on the other hand, are without even these simple things we so commonly take for granted. In America, we have been given so much – and have been given opportunities to achieve so much more.
In 2020, I am especially grateful for our brave men and women serving on the frontlines of this health crisis. Risking their lives to serve others is one of the fundamental touchstones of this country. Add to this our faithful police, firefighters, military, and social workers . . . who serve and protect us daily for little to no fanfare. We are surrounded by quiet heroes. As well, teams of the brilliant scientists have been working ‘round the clock to develop a vaccine. Operation Warp Speed has brought about COVID-19 vaccines with efficacy rates of near 95% . . . in months’ time – not years . . . for inoculations of 300 million by the end of 2020!
As every year, we at Wealth Legacy Group®, Inc. reflect upon the blessings of the extraordinary clients we are privileged to serve, the various allied professionals we work alongside, and the remarkable “family” at WLG with which I am honored to lead. Helping clients identify and achieve a lasting, positive legacy within their family, business, and the world at large – it simply doesn’t get better than this!
COVID-19 has thrown us for a loop in having in-person meetings. We are grateful, therefore, for technology and the internet which has allowed us to host over fifteen events this year in both our for-profit entity, Wealth Legacy Group®, Inc., and also our non-profit arm, The Center for Wealth & Legacy™. In early April, our five-day “Will My Business Survive COVID-19?” webinar series attracted over 235 unique attendees. Grappling early on with the health crisis now in its eighth month in the U.S. gave all of us some hope that we could be proactive in our responses – initiators and not just victims. How thankful we are for the 17 subject matter experts who – without hesitation – gave of their time, creativity, and expertise.
On a more personal note, this year as always, I am especially grateful for my amazing wife Vymean (and Chief Operating Officer for Wealth Legacy Group®, Inc.) – our boys and their wonderful life partners – our extended family and now, the birth of our grandson – who has brought even more joy and laughter to our lives!
Conclusion – Give Thanks Every Day
Now that I have listed some things for which I am thankful, how about you? What are some things in your life for which you can give thanks? How about writing out 5-10 things to give thanks for, and then drop them into a jar to pull out one a day? This is a new habit I have started for us this year . . . and to keep adding new things to the jar . . . at least one thing every day. Developing a spirit of gratitude is not only “infectious” in a good way, but studies also show it actually adds years of life! Thankful people, overall, live longer according to various longevity studies. Not only that, many would agree that they are also happier and have more meaningful lives. So, why not set aside some specific time to reflect on the past year and what – and whom – you may be thankful for this year. As a bonus, like whipped cream on top of the pie, why not let others know how thankful you are for them in your life?
Speaking of pie . . . on a more lighthearted note, some have asked for tips on how to not gain weight over the Holidays. I have simply applied major league catcher/manager Yogi Berra’s wise advice about how to eat pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving meal: “I cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”
Giving thanks every day even in a year of pandemic . . . not merely one day . . .
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Written by R. J. Kelly – November 2020