Sunday, November 23, 2014

Better Thanksgiving spiritual prep (the relatives)

For years I've been working to be better prepared for the annual Thanksgiving gathering in a family where the simmering tensions are a given. And the preparations have been helping, though again I'm hoping to take it one step further this year. This year I am taking the "do unto others" approach: where I wish other people would remember any decent or good thing I've ever done and treat me accordingly, I plan to remember a decent or good thing each person there has done, and try to find an opportunity to work that story into the conversation. So this year, I hope to uplift the people there with memories of how they:

  • made really amazing pumpkin pies
  • used to hem pants for my grandfather
  • whenever the grandparents were in the hospital, used to cheer up youngest generation with balloon-games with the hospital gloves
  • was a favorite substitute teacher
  • earned "world's most patient" status during her husband's declining years
  • danced along with the staff at Chuck E Cheese parties and made everybody smile (someone who is now old enough to appreciate that rather than be embarrassed by it)
  • followed his own sense of direction in a career choice, rather than doing what was expected
We'll see how many of these I can work into the conversation this Thanksgiving. 

I'm also reviewing some of the holiday preparations from prior years:

Though when it comes to backhanded compliments, it seems that ultimately, if I'm expecting backhanded compliments, I should go armed with honest and earnest compliments about the others, or stories that build up the other people. It might set a better tone and prevent the insults, or (if not), still "bless those who curse you".

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