COMMENTARY: Thanking Your Parents on Thanksgiving

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I hope you will think about your parents with your most gentle and generous thoughts and be thankful.

Even if you didn’t have ideal parents or a perfect home life, if either or both of your parents are still with you, make an effort to experience and express genuine gratitude.

It’s natural to take for granted what our parents did for us and to be highly conscious of and easily annoyed by their flaws and foibles, especially when they don’t seem to realize that you’re all grown up and that you don’t need and often don’t want their opinions or advice.

If you are still in school or are at the early stages of starting your own family, the tendency is to become so absorbed with your own life that you convince yourself you are too busy to be conscious of or care about the milestones, changes and stages of your parents’ lives.

Most parents have learned not to expect much from their kids and they forgive them, leading their children to believe that whatever they do or don’t do is OK. Well, it isn’t.

Don’t delude yourself into thinking it doesn’t matter. You should send cards, buy birthday, anniversary, and holiday gifts (with parents, it really is the thought that counts) and, most of all, make time to keep up to date with their lives as well as keeping them up to date with yours.

If you are going to see your parents on Thanksgiving, here’s a simple strategy. Talk to them, ask how they are doing – not just their health, but their life — and tell them about all your successes. Make a conscious effort to review your past and recapture some of the best moments of your childhood and take a few moments to relive them as a memory you are thankful for.

Good parents — the ones who are easiest to hurt — change their lives in thousands of ways for their children. They don’t do it for gratitude, but they deserve it.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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