Thankful? Keep passing it along!
Last year around this time we wrote, "It's easy to talk, but much harder to walk. And there's a lot of talking going on this time of year." Then we issued the challenge to "Put your actions where your thankfulness is" by going beyond the "I'm thankful for ..." social media posts by passing that thankfulness along to others.
We touched on a few of the things we're thankful for and ways to take action: food (food pantries), clothes (giving trees), a roof over our heads (homeless shelters), health (programs that provide medical, dental and/or vision care to low income families); safety (volunteer emergency responders), freedom (veterans' organizations), companion animals (local animal shelters and rescues) and living our lives (suicide prevention organizations).
But that was just a start to the list. We have a lot going on in our lives, and we're pretty thankful for all of it!
If you're thankful for your parents, give to an organization that steps in for children who aren't that lucky. Or better yet, give of your time to help a child who needs stability in his or her life. Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs adults with children in a lot of places. If your area isn't one of them, look for a mentorship program, church, or other group that provides similar services.
If you're thankful you can read, write, and manage the math we need for adulting, help a teacher. It's no secret teaching is one of the few professions where people bring supplies to the "office" rather than having the supplies grow legs and disappear on their own. Adopt a classroom, pick a program or extracurricular activity, or step up to the plate and volunteer your time and expertise.
If you're thankful for literacy, spread the joy of reading. That's right — joy. Reading is the basis for all learning, at all levels. Children need to learn the joy of reading for fun and entertainment in order to be willing to delve into the not-so-fun reading that comes later in life. Give to your school library, sponsor a student's book fair purchases, volunteer for story time — and know you're helping a child become a more literate, functional adult.
If you're thankful to be fit and active, help provide opportunities for others to enjoy healthy recreation. Does your town have recreational sports for all ages? Or for that matter, parks that are cared for and safe? Donate to programs that are struggling, provide sports equipment, or get out and coach. Not a sports type? Volunteer to time or record stats. Or help keep the park clean and maintained.
If you're thankful for friends to spend time with, be a friend to someone who is alone. For every nursing home resident who gets regular visitors, there are many who sit by themselves wishing someone would come to see them. Call or stop in to ask staff how you can help.
If you're thankful for good neighbors, be one. It's great to have good neighbors — coffee buddies, project partners, people who step in and give a hand when life goes haywire. Are you a good neighbor, or a selective one? Reach out beyond the neighbors you're friends with, and connect with new neighbors and those you don't really know. If the yard's looking a little rough, offer to mow or trim. Drop off a batch of cookies — you may not visit the first time, but it's a start that could turn into a whole new friendship.
These are just a few more ways to show thankfulness this season. Where and how will you take action?