Turkey, football, shopping, and judgment—these are the cornerstones of American Thanksgiving. When relatives get together to celebrate and share gratitude, there typically exists an undercurrent of misguided judgment. The day that should propagate assessment of character is instead steeped in superficiality. We are more focused on the shine of the turkey than the flavor of the stuffing.
After the ceremonial roundtable discussion on the subject of gratitude, questions devolve in substance. “What are you grateful for?” becomes “What do you do?”, “what are you passionate about?” becomes “where do you go to school?”, and “are you fulfilled?” becomes “why aren’t you seeing anyone?”
The kid who is enrolled at a prestigious university, who is in a relationship, who has acquired a summer internship—this is the one who is doing well. The one who is searching for himself—he isn’t.
But often the trappings of success hide a hollow interior. The turkey may look good, but when bitten into, it is dry and flavorless. This Thanksgiving, instead of judging your nephew because he is on a day-pass from rehab, ask him how he’s grown in the past year. Instead of admonishing your unemployed daughter, congratulate her triumphs. Let this Thanksgiving be the day of the stuffing rather than the day of the turkey.
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