By Scot Kersgaard, JVA Consulting
Events in Ferguson, Cleveland and around the world leave many of us with heavy hearts and aching souls. That doesn’t mean we give up the holidays. Perhaps it means we ask a little more of ourselves this year, give a little more of ourselves.
Many of us will sit around a table on Thanksgiving and talk about what we are thankful for. It may just be a list of things, or it may be a time to talk in more depth. Some of us may do this while standing around in a circle holding hands. Many, of course, won’t do this at all, which does not imply a lack of thankfulness.
We all have holiday traditions. Some play football in the yard on Thanksgiving. Some watch football on the telly, some go for long walks after dinner, if only as a warm-up for leftovers.
Here’s an idea, though. Maybe Thanksgiving is more than a time to express thanks, eat and enjoy football. Maybe it is a time to give thankfully and mindfully, to acknowledge our own good fortune by giving a little something back.
Maybe it’s time to look at each other differently, to not see ethnic, racial or socioeconomic differences as dividers, but as opportunities for broadening our own understanding, to expect the best from each other rather than to fear the worst–and to present our own best self to the world on a daily basis.
My wife, yesterday, said to me that we need to pick up our charitable pace. Partly, she is looking at the need, which, in the field of human services in a cold climate like Denver, tends to go up this time of year. Partly, she may have been thinking about the fact that we have done OK this year, kept the mortgage paid and the heat on and the pantry stocked.
Inspired by Janine Vanderburg, who treats Colorado Gives Day like a holiday, I told my wife we could each give away $X on Colorado Gives Day in any way we each want. Much as Janine would expect, we’ve begun bartering and lobbying, with my wife telling me why we should give more to her favorite nonprofit. In the end, we will probably give more than planned.
Colorado Gives Day is great. It does not, of course, replace year-round giving. It also does not replace fundamental human kindness.
Writing checks or typing credit card numbers into Colorado Gives Day forms is a great way to express thanks. A smile and the understanding that we are all one people is a great way to express shared humanity with each other.
Let’s do both this year.