We made it through the semester. Now we are going home in a time when going home may not be merry and bright for everyone. In this time of continued political unrest in the country and a year where some of us may not be able to be with our family due to health concerns, Thanksgiving and the holiday season look different this year. So, how do we cope? Well, we make the best of it.
Let’s start with turkey dinner. For some, it may be frustrating to have conversations where you disagree with some family members about social, political, economic — or whatever other — issues that may arise. My advice to you would be to simply listen and remain calm, which is definitely easier said than done, especially if this has happened on multiple occasions. However, if you simply listen, just to change the status quo of a possible fight, I think it will help diffuse the situation immensely. Then, after they are done speaking or saying their piece, by all means state your opinion. Take up space, you have just as much room as they do. Deliver it in a way of peace and understanding for the other person, once again, in order to diffuse the possibility of a situation from occurring.
All of that is much easier said than done, however, especially because the other party may not be willing to listen or give you the time you thoughtfully gave them. Family can be hard because they are the closest to us. Especially during holidays that are already stressful, but this year, tensions could be even higher depending on what your year has looked like. I think it is always important to remember grace. We must be willing to grant grace to others and ourselves during a time when it seems grace is not always readily available. This is important when having conversations with family members we disagree with because we must consider their feelings and opinions if we expect them to consider ours. Which leads me to finally giving thanks for all the grace we have been granted this year.
Grant yourself some grace and give thanks that we have made it through this year. It is almost over, thankfully. Give thanks, since it is the right time to do so. It may seem cliche, but being thankful is something I think we take for granted all the time. Be thankful for an education, for being healthy or having access to healthcare, thankful for our families and what they provide for us, thankful for yourself and having the mental and physical capacity to make it through a year that seems to actively be working against you. Be thankful you are able to have the opportunity to sit across from your family and have difficult conversations — or at least consider having them— because it truly is not so easy for everyone. Grant yourself some grace; we are almost done. Enjoy the break ahead, try your hardest not to let the tension boil, and be thankful for all that has allowed you to grow this semester. You have done it, in spite of it all.