by Keith Driscoll, Director of Residence
To give thanks causes us to stop for a moment and reflect upon what is going well in our lives. Our busy schedules and always-do-better mentality makes it difficult to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. As individuals, families and communities we must become more purposeful in creating opportunities to not only think about what we are thankful for, but to express it to others in our lives.
Hearing what others are thankful for builds hope. It also combats the cynicism that arises from constantly hearing what is wrong with us and our world, and the idea that we are not quite good enough.
One of the ways the boarding creates these opportunities is through community dinners. Most recently, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in a family-style setting. Students dressed formally and houseparents served them dinner. The goal was twofold: to introduce our diverse community to a Canadian tradition; and to create an opportunity to intentionally reflect on what we have to be thankful for.
The evening began with an historical perspective on the origin of Thanksgiving celebrations across cultures and their early connection to the harvest season. In today’s modern, mechanical world our connection to food is often lost. Including the role of food in this reflective process reminds us of our connection with the earth. As the evening continued, each student was asked to share something they were thankful for with their dinner companions and, in doing so, beginning the upward cycle of hope.
As the year continues we will gather again in this purposeful way and continue to look for ways to enrich our community through dialogue and food. As I end this article, I would like to say that I am thankful to live and work in this vibrant and exciting community.