As we just celebrated the national holiday of Thanksgiving, that features family and food, I thought of what we call in Lebanon “Thanksliving,” when you are happy just to be safe.
I am very thankful to be here, but am concerned about the lack of respect for one another, starting with our children.
Since family is the bedrock of our community, our state and our nation, we need to build strong foundations. Family is devoted to one another’s growth, maturity and development to become an engaged citizen. Family members serve and sacrifice for each other, and challenge us to be better, to work harder and to be our best.
I am concerned about our teenagers’ behavior in school. As many of you know, parenting is hard work. We have to be courageous and have the difficult discussions with our kids. We now need to talk about school safety, diversity, the potential dangers of the internet, bullying, the importance of good grades and good sportsmanship, gun safety, abstinence and the extreme dangers of addiction. And we need those conversations to be effective.
Our kids need to be reminded that our freedom isn’t free; it was fought for and it’s still being fought for. And they need to be reminded that the freedoms we enjoy come with responsibility. As parents, we must lead and not be intimidated by pushback from our adolescents. Because there will be pushback.
It’s a tough time to be a teenager. Our job as parents is also to listen, to sift through the jargon and hear what our kids are truly struggling with. Everyone has struggles. Mostly, people want to be heard, understood, accepted and loved.
This holiday season of peace and joy can turn into haste and waste. Let’s try to listen more, accept more and judge less.
Thanksliving, or developing a habit of gratitude, is a practice that can reap both emotional and physiological benefits. The results of a 10-week study on gratitude was published in 2015 by psychologists Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami. The researchers separated the participants into three groups, which journaled daily.
The first group wrote on experiences for which they were thankful; the second on experiences that displeased or irritated them; and the last group wrote daily of events with no emphasis on either positive or negative emotional attachment. The results showed that if people spent time daily thinking of things they were thankful for and even writing these items down, they typically felt more positive about their lives, were more physically active, and reported fewer visits to a doctor than people in the group who wrote only about the negative aspects of their experiences. As parents, we try to model thankfulness and teach its value, so it’s good to find that science backs this up.
I trust you had a great Thanksgiving day with family and friends. Historians tell us this tradition harkens back to the first Thanksgiving celebrated in the New World at harvest time in 1621. Edward Winslow, who was there, recounted that there were 90 Native Americans and 53 pilgrims dining together. I suspect that at that first thankful feast, instead of celebrating their differences, the men and women laid these aside and appreciated the bounty from above and the goodness of friendship, peace and family.
Once again, thank you for giving me the honor of representing you in the General Assembly. I am energized as I anticipate the 2020 session and the issues we will tackle. I assure you that I will continue to look for common ground while upholding conservative values.