Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

Many of us have Thanksgiving Day traditions. It might be a special breakfast, or watching the Thanksgiving parade, best in show dog show or football on TV, or playing football with family and friends. Or maybe it’s loved ones gathered around a table with special foods. 

One way or another, most of us have a tradition.

When my children were young, I started a Thanksgiving tradition where we go around the table and say at least one thing we are thankful for. My youngest daughter called it our “thanklefors” and it kind of stuck. To me, it makes the tradition even sweeter. 

I have to say, doing our “thanklefors” is one of my favorite things at Thanksgiving, when we take the time to focus on our blessings. I am excited to pass that on to my granddaughter.

I recently watched a motivational speech by Denzel Washington titled “Say Thank You” on YouTube. In this motivational video, Mr. Washington tells us to say “thank you” in advance for what is already ours. He tells us to be thankful for the hard times because they make us appreciate the good times. He tells us to be thankful for the lessons as they were needed for our development. He tells us to be thankful for everything we take for granted. How powerful!

I mean, how many times over the year do we hear people (maybe ourselves?) complain about the littlest inconveniences? Like, how many times do we hear complaints like, “Ugh, I had to wait 30 minutes for my food order,” when in reality, according to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, go to bed hungry in the United States? 

Or hear our teenagers complain that they will just “die” if they don’t get the latest and greatest phone or athletic shoe for the holiday when, in reality, according to OxFam America, 50 million people in the US live in poverty with little hope of change.

Some may have a lot, some may have not much, but we can be thankful that we have a job, in this profession, that allows us to be blessed by caring for others every day. Especially in a country where 5.75 million people (as of September) don’t have a job at all. Can we look at what we have instead of what we don’t?

And I just want to add, for all of you who have devoted your lives to caring for this most vulnerable population, in whatever capacity, I am profoundly grateful for you.

Just keeping it real … thankful,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.