Commentary – What are you thankful for?

Richard Froese

For some people, it’s been a challenge to be thankful with restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March 2020.
We celebrated Thanksgiving Day last weekend.
But we have so many things to be thankful for all the time.
COVID-19 restrictions and health precautions returned after a summer of more freedom and sense of normal.
However, life and freedoms are so much worse in many other countries around the world. Be thankful you live in Canada with all the freedoms, even though many believe their freedoms are being taken away by the COVID-19 restrictions.
Be thankful for those restrictions. Otherwise, more people would be infected by the virus, in hospitals, or die from the disease.
Thank those who have been vaccinated to help protect their families, their friends and communities from the risk and spread of COVID-19.
As more people realize the danger of the disease and get vaccinated in the coming weeks, thank them for their decision that shows they care for their families and others around them.
Thank everyone who gets vaccinated because it helps to control and conquer COVID-19 and will give freedoms that Albertans and Canadians want and deserve.
Be thankful for the healthcare system and those working in difficult times. Without the commitment of those people, Alberta and Canada would be worse off in the pandemic.
Thanksgiving is a special time of the year for churches. Many host a supper and an array of food and fresh produce is on display to show the abundance around us.
One song I sang in Sunday school encourages people to focus on the good life.
“Be thankful for the good things that you’ve got. The good things that you’ve got are for many just a dream.”
Just months before the pandemic hit, I learned a few short exercises to help people be thankful. The steps were part of a three-session evening workshop Building Better Community in my home church in High Prairie in December 2019.
The leader guided the workshop based on a book Building Better Communities – 12 Exercises to Strengthen Your Relational Muscles written by Tom Anthony.
Overall, the workshop presented 12 simple steps or actions to nurture a stronger positive mind to build healthier relationships.
Several focus on thanks.

  • Practise Gratitude:
    At the end of each day, spend time to express thanks. Writing it down is a great way to remember them over time. Share your thanks with family or a small group is even better.
    “Thank you, God, for. . .” Be specific.
    For those not of the faith, simply says “I’m thankful for. . .”
    Name at least five things that made your day. Focus more on blessings than problems.
  • Think of Joy Memories: Think of moments in the day or past week where you experienced laughter or comfort or smiles or joy with someone. Focus more on joy memories than bad memories.
  • Create Appreciation:
    Build relational joy.
    When you are present with others, tell each person individually “I’m so happy to be with you”, followed by their name. When you hear your name from another person, you feel special. Say the other person’s name and make them feel special. In turn, others will thank you and make you feel special.
    Show and share your thanks and love and make it a better world for everyone.

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