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  • Writer's pictureKira Witherwax

Thanks & Giving

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

In my dining room is a wall hanging that reads “May our lives be full of both Thanks & Giving.”

This is not a seasonal sign; it’s there all year. And it might be my favorite quote. Or at the very least it’s a steadfast reminder, my goal. I truly hope everyone that sits around my dining table has a life full of Thanks & Giving. That they (and I) find something to be thankful for always. Somedays it might be many things or one big thing and sometimes it may only be that they woke up that day. All are worthy of thankfulness.

But I think equally important is that we all find a way to give. I often hear that those who have the least are the most generous with what they have. I think it’s also true that if you are generous when you have a little, you will also be generous when you have a lot.

It’s important though, to not think of giving as only in terms of money. There are so many other ways to give to others. Giving our time and talents are just as important. And this builds strong communities. I would argue that giving support, in the form of kindness, words of encouragement or understanding are maybe the most generous of all.

I’m so thankful for my family, my community, and a career I love. Community means many things to me, it means the small neighborhood we live in where my kids learned to bike and we created lifelong friendships with other families. It means the small town in PA that I grew up in that will always have a special place in my heart (even though I couldn’t wait to leave); people there would still take me in and treat me as their own; that’s community to me. I’m incredibly grateful for the larger community of the North Country. My community includes my church family, the school districts where my kids attend school, the Keeseville Elks Lodge where my oldest learned to walk because her family volunteered there so much. It’s a vibrant quilt of smaller communities with common threads throughout, one of which, is an incredibly generous nature.

November is the perfect month to reflect on what we’re thankful for. It’s also a great time to look at how we can give to others and how we choose to teach that to the young people in our lives. Certainly, learning by example seem the most obvious.

I come from a long line of habitual volunteers, and I seem to have inherited the gene. The amazing thing about giving of yourself is the joy it brings you. If you’re feeling down, I promise helping others will make you just as warm and fuzzy (and thankful) as it will make them. It’s an interesting circle and humans really need both. So, I’d like to challenge us all to be more aware of it. To pay attention to the giving happening around you in your communities. To be thankful for what you have and for the people giving around you or to you. And to notice how when you give, how it makes you feel blessed as well.

This holiday season, I sincerely hope that our lives are full of both Thanks & Giving.

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