November 18, 2018
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. – Maya Angelou
As Americans prepare for their Thanksgiving meal, we begin to think about our blessings. The very fact that most of us can gather around a table with family or friends and put together a meal of thanksgiving is a miracle. How will we enjoy that miracle together? Do we dread having to come together with family because of disharmony or differing political views? Are there challenges because we have different a parenting style than our sisters or brothers do? Are we worried about the effect of those things on our children? If only counting our blessings didn’t have to include all that stress!
I love to read anything written or spoken by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. She is the founder of a medical student curriculum called “The Healer’s Art” used in medical schools throughout the United States, and the author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings. Dr. Remen writes, “The capacity to bless is in everybody. The power of our blessing is not diminished by illness or age. On the contrary, our blessings become even more powerful as we grow older. We may have traveled a long, hard road to the place where we can remember once again who we are. That we have traveled and remembered gives hope to those we bless. Perhaps in time they too can remember this place beyond competition and struggle, this place where we belong to one another… I first learned to do this from people who were dying, people who had moved into a more authentic relationship with those around them because only that which is genuine still had meaning for them. These people had let go of the ways in which they had changed themselves to win approval, and so they made it safe for others to remove their masks as well.”
Our blessing for you this Thanksgiving week is that you can remove your mask and be yourself, allowing others to do so as well. We don’t all have to agree in order to belong to one another.
Blessings on your Thanksgiving week,
Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Weekly blog editor
Thanksgiving Poem by Oliver Hereford
It was a hungry pussy cat,
upon Thanksgiving morn,
And she watched a thankful little mouse,
that ate an ear of corn.
‘If I ate that thankful little mouse,
how thankful he should be,
When he had made a meal himself,
to make a meal for me!
Then with his thanks for having fed,
and thanks for feeding me.
With all his thankfulness inside,
how thankful I shall be!’
Thus mused the hungry pussy cat,
upon Thanksgiving Day.
But the little mouse had overheard
and declined (with thanks) to stay!
Are you committed to providing your child with healthy whole foods and concerned about the food choices at the home of Grandma or other well-meaning relatives? Here is “an oldie but a goody” from Kerry Ingram, LifeWays North America Vice President of the board, and founder of Mothering Arts.
A simple, sweet blessing for mealtime is featured in this video from Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys.
Blessings on the blossoms
Blessings on the roots
Blessings on the leaves and stems
Blessings on the fruits
Here is a sweet blessing in Spanish featuring LifeWays online student Sommer Blessing and her children:
Gracias por el sol
Gracias por la lluvia
Garcias por las Flores
Y gracias por la comida
(Thank you for the sun
Thank you for the rain
Thank you for the flowers
And thank you for the food)
The mealtime blessing in Sarah Baldwin’s video above is especially appropriate for the young child because it is in the Mood of the Fifth. Have you wondered about the Mood of the Fifth? You are not alone! LifeWays has a wonderful video that provides a detailed explanation of the pentatonic scale, where the notes come from and why it is especially suited to children before the 9-year change. The “mood of the fifth” is also explained, and why it’s streaming and mirroring qualities around the note “A” especially reflect and support the youngest children. You also get a video that helps you learn to use, tune and string your kinderlyre, and one about music for the first grade child. All for the low price of only $25! Click here to learn more about the DVD or download.
On Gratitude by Rudolf Steiner
Nowadays, the feeling of gratitude is underestimated. Gratitude connects people with the world, makes them feel part of the world. If one guides the child in such a way that it can develop gratitude for even the most unimportant or trivial things it meets in life, then that child does not close itself off from the world in egotism, then it becomes altruistic, it feels itself to be a part of the environment. […]
And when one has imparted to the child the feeling of gratitude, then one will realise that the basis for moral education has been planted. Because if one has taken care of this feeling of gratitude and gratitude is experienced as compatible with all knowledge, then the feelings of the child will easily be penetrated by the love that the human being must have for all the rest of humanity and ultimately for all the creatures of the world. One can develop love in the best possible way through gratitude.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Selbsterziehung und pädagogische Praxis – The Hague, November 4, 1922 (page 159-160)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger