We on the staff of The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA have had a happy accident. Inadvertently, the article for the November issue that covers the Global Storytelling evening at the recent conference had the wrong link assigned to it so that if you chose to read more, you were sent to a different article that had appeared in the October issue.
I think of it as a happy accident because it gives me an opportunity to wish that you find a way to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving during this time of limited socializing. As Oprah Winfrey has said: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” This year of virtual celebrating is preparation for next year when we will most likely be together to celebrate with family and friends.
A quote attributed to Tecumseh is helpful in the midst of the spike in virus cases: “When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.” It’s a reminder that we can choose how we are going to react to the current situation. We can frame our lives in a positive way no matter that we must wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from others, wash our hands a lot, avoid mingling with large groups, and other strategies for staying healthy. If nothing else, we can use Maya Angelou’s observation that: “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”
American Thanksgiving is a time when it is expected that we will give thanks for our blessings. As important as they are, it’s not enough to just to say the words. We need to feel gratitude in our hearts. It has been recognized over the centuries that: “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues” (Cicero). And then it needs to be turned into action. John F Kennedy said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
Something I hope everyone is thankful for is the associations and connections we have with and within SIETAR USA. I know that I am! I found that over the years the friends and colleagues I know through SIETAR USA have inspired me, supported me, and made me feel that I belong. Albert Schweitzer said it this way: “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” I have found those people in SIETAR USA, and I give sincere thanks for each and every one of them.
So, those are my thoughts and the thoughts of some well-known people on gratitude. I’d like to offer my gratitude to all the people from our global community who gave of their time to share their lives with us for a few minutes during the conference. I am so very grateful to Sue Shinomiya and Kwesi Ewoodzie—using their connections to create the Global Storytelling session—bringing people from all over the world to our conference. It was definitely a highlight of the conference! They have written an article about that experience that is a true gift. Enjoy!
Sandra M. Fowler
President SIETAR USA