Most people are familiar with the “traditional” story of the first American Thanksgiving. Over the years, the Thanksgiving story has turned into a myth and the celebration itself has changed.
The original spirit of Thanksgiving was to tap into a deep sense of gratitude for one’s blessings, especially during or after hardships. Today, in most families, the traditional attendees, cooks and meal remain the same: the whole family gathers together, maybe inviting those who would be alone. The matriarch cooks the entire meal, with help from other women if she’s lucky, while the men wait in another room, maybe watching holiday parades, occasionally entering the kitchen to hover impatiently. They may say grace, maybe for the only time that year. Then they all gorge themselves on a huge turkey dinner with about five to ten side dishes and harvest-time desserts.
There the similarities to the first Thanksgiving end. After dinner, the men retire to the TV to drink beer and watch football all day, while the women remain in the kitchen cleaning. When that huge mess is cleaned up, the women focus on perusing the newspaper ads, because the following day is “Black Friday,” the biggest shopping day of the year. It starts as early as 3 a.m. so the women plan their attack and retire early.
Most Americans spend little time Thanksgiving Day focusing on gratitude. It’s just the way things are today; the traditional practices are there, but the original reason for them has been mostly forgotten.
This is very similar to many of today’s parenting practices, which started generations ago and continue simply because “that’s how it’s always been done.” This is why Parent’s Toolshop® instructors often tell…
The Roasting Pan Story: I went to my Great-Grandma’s house for a holiday dinner. When I went to put the roast in the pan, my mom told me to first cut off the ends of the roast. I said, “Why would I cut the tips? That’s the best part.” She said, “I don’t know. That’s how my mom always made her roasts and they always turned out okay.” Well her mom, my grandma, was on the other side of the kitchen so I asked her why she cut the ends off of her roast. She said, “I don’t know. That’s how my mom made her roasts and they always turned out so tender.” Well Great-Grandma was out in the living room sitting in a rocking chair and I was determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. So I went out and asked her, “Why did you cut the tips off the end of the roast before putting it in the pan?” She said, “Why honey, I only had one pan and I had to cut the ends off the roast to get it to fit.”
The Moral of the Story: sometimes we do things that people have been doing for generations, but we’ve long forgotten or don’t even know the original reason. Once we know the original reason, we often find that reason no longer applies and we now have more options (pans) from which to choose. Many are options that were known or available in the past, providing even better ways to do something. This doesn’t make the “old ways’ wrong, just maybe outdated or no longer needed or as useful.
This story illustrates how parenting myths and ineffective practices get passed down through generations. This is why, when the extended family gathers on Thanksgiving and other holidays, parents often get frustrated by the interference, bad advice and criticism meddling relatives think they have the right to give.
So these issues are what today’s two gifts today will address: “The Top 10 Parenting Myths and Truths” (with a link to all 30) and the “The Common Sense Guide To Screening & Weeding Parenting Advice.”