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26 November 2013 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

TRUE SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING: IT’S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE

black-friday-brawlIt’s that time again. Of course I’m talking about Thanksgiving, and quite honestly I can’t believe the holiday season is upon us and has come around so fast once again.

 All across this country we are starting to hear the usual Thanksgiving chatter. 

Folks are beginning to bring out the festive decorations that they’ve had stored away since last Thanksgiving; making plans to welcome home family members, while others are making plans to travel home.  On the flip side though, many folks are not focused on family or Thanksgiving itself; they are on a mission to gather all the sales papers to determine what bargains they can take advantage of on Black Friday.

As I said, it’s Thanksgiving time again.

Thanksgiving Day is one of our nation’s most esteemed holidays in the United States and while it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November, it is one of the few holidays that everyone prepares for year round.  Whether it is the government, most companies, schools, employees or families, Thanksgiving has always been a respected holiday and the annual traditions associated with it have become a major part of almost every American family. People travel all over the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families and friends, mostly gathering together for a large meal or dinner. It is during this time that family and friends re-connect with one another, even if that means that it is the only time of the year they come together to spend time with one another. The Thanksgiving holiday is also one of the busiest travel times of the year and serves as a mini-vacation for most businesses, schools and colleges.

I remember when I was a student at the University of Oklahoma; I could not wait for Thanksgiving to come back home and see my family and friends that I left behind in Houston. It was a time that I eagerly anticipated, because it was at home that I felt the most appreciation and the most acceptance and just like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” I found myself saying; “There’s no place like home.”

Many people appreciate the true spirit of what Thanksgiving means, but there are many others who simply view it as another commercialized holiday; where they get the opportunity to stand in long lines and fight each other over the chance to buy some discounted merchandise.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking advantage of Black Friday or any other holiday special.

I mean, I take advantage of many of the specials myself; but what trips me out is when I go out to the stores on Black Friday and find myself picking my jaw off the floor, after witnessing this reality TV-like foolishness. Yes, I called it reality TV-like foolishness, because many of the actions I see taking place is no different than the garbage they show on reality TV. You name the show; you name the characters; and I can show you the same folks shopping during Black Friday that would make excellent reality TV personalities.

The majority of Americans have been programmed and conditioned to embrace a culture of greed and materialism, by being emotionally stirred to take their focus off the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Many people won’t get the chance to take advantage of the same opportunities that so many of us take for granted. Many Americans will be forced to play with the cards they were dealt and accept the reality of their current situation; whether they want to or not. 

Let’s take a moment to think about the people who won’t be spending this Thanksgiving with their family and friends:

Many of our brave men and women in uniform, who protect the freedoms we enjoy daily, will not be able to gather and celebrate with their family and friends like we will.

Many of the homeless men and women in our country, who would be excited to simply have a warm bed to sleep in or warm meal to eat, will not be able to enjoy those things like we will.

Many of our most vulnerable senior citizens, who live by themselves or are in assisted living facilities, will not have the same family reunion type love and affection like we will.

Many of our country’s orphan children, who have longed to be adopted by a family to call their own, will not experience the same love and home-like stability like we will.

Many of those reading this article will put on a façade, wear a mask, hide their loneliness and long for the love of true family and friends, that many of us have and take for granted daily, during this Thanksgiving holiday.  It’s okay to be real with yourself; you know that I’m right.

Shouldn’t every day be Thanksgiving though?  I say yes and I truly believe God rewards us and keeps account of how we treat our fellow man here on the Earth. It is during the Thanksgiving holiday, that people tend to become more generous and seek to meet the needs of our most vulnerable and loneliest citizens. Of course, none of us is able to do everything, but each and every one of us can do something. It’s amazing how God blesses us when we take our minds off of ourselves and places them on being a blessing to others.

Can you imagine how this world would be if the spirit of Thanksgiving was an integral part of our daily lives, and if people focused on the true meaning of thanksgiving and not the commercialized holiday that it has become?

I believe that the people who keep their minds focused on the true spirit of Thanksgiving, and who make it a part of their lives all-year-round, will be the continuous solutions providers to the problems and issues that ail our country.  They will be far more effective and memorable to our society than those who view Thanksgiving as just another chance to get for more ‘stuff’.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper.  Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance.  If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .