We have grown up in a generation that has forgotten the virtue of gratitude. Free market capitalism and technology advances have bestowed on us the greatest material well-being in history. If you are “poor” today, you live better than the king of Babylon would ever have dreamed. Taking a day to recognize and adopt an attitude of thankfulness is very healthy. If you read Vox or have taken certain classes in school, though, Thanksgiving is slandered as “simply a colonial celebration, ignoring the plight of indigenous people.”
The historical roots of Thanksgiving are found in the Pilgrims showing gratitude to God for their survival in a new world. Several times, they escaped certain death on the journey across the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower. The Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, where they barely survived the first winter of 1621. Then in incredible fashion, one of the only English-speaking natives in North America walked out of the woods. His name was Samoset, and he introduced the Pilgrims to another English-speaking native, Squanto. This relationship allowed the Pilgrims and Massasoit tribe to create a peace treaty that would last over 4 decades & give the Pilgrims skills in the new world. The Pilgrims learned by trial-and-error to reject the original socialistic governance of the settlement to one guided by basic capitalism. After this switch, they people thrived. Governor Bradford declared a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the hand of Providence which had guided their steps in America. Through hardship, struggles and sheer grit, the Pilgrims were able to create a life that would birth a future nation.
Thanksgiving is important to our culture because we need gratitude to be a successful and moral people. Gratitude embeds humility in the human soul. Thankfulness breeds internal joy and an empathy for the plight of others. We have been endowed with an abundance of blessings in this nation. Our lives are a gift, given to us by a former generation of pioneers willing to sacrifice their lifestyles for the future of a great nation. As Millennials and Gen Z, let’s develop a sense of gratitude that is contagious, generous and re-defines our generation.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!