Giving Thanks for Respect

by Paul Meshanko

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All across the country on Thanksgiving Day, many families will be around the table waiting to dig into a feast of traditional foods handed down through the generations. It is also a time to either verbally or silently reflect on the good things in our lives.

To me, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to look around the table of family and friends and share our respect for one another and the differences, which make us unique. It could be for a cousin, who has embraced the art of self-expression with an array of new tattoos, or the loud uncle who is a staunch supporter of the democrats when the entire family is republican, or the college son who is involved with volunteering for the campus LGBT organization. All of us have our differences, our opinions, our beliefs and our perceptions of what is right for us individually. To acknowledge these differences, be curious and genuine in our respect for another’s point of view (even if it’s not my own) are what generate a peaceful environment around a Thanksgiving feast and could be what might generate peace around the world.

I am thankful for the differences that exist between each of us, including my family members, friends, colleagues and even my adversaries. More importantly, I understand that while we each may see some things differently from the others, these differences do not make us any less important as sons, daughters, husbands, mothers, friend or business owners. In my heart, I believe that respect should be communicated in everything that we do. Its value is universal because it is a felt emotion that is appreciated by everyone it touches.

As I sit down to my Thanksgiving celebration, I will be giving thanks for my family, my friends and good health. This year, I will also give thanks for the respect I have been fortunate enough to both give to and receive from others.
I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!