Thanksgiving Day again lived up to its number one ranking on my holiday list. Binging on turkey, beer and football – what’s not to love? But between mouthfuls and during halftime, I gave thanks for the wonderful gifts I’ve been blessed with: my loving wife, beautiful kids, great siblings, good health, our country, our freedom, a career, some good friends, a sense of purpose, and so much more. Far more than I deserve.

Thinking of My Parents

My thoughts included my parents: my dad who passed away 8 years ago at 91, and my mom, 93, whose Alzheimer’s cannot dim her smile and kindness towards others. I gave thanks for what they gave me — unconditional love, encouragement, a love of learning, an understanding of right and wrong, an appreciation for hard work, and the need to give to others. Their sacrifice and commitment to their kids were heroic. How lucky I was to have won them in the parent lottery. They weren’t perfect, but all in all, I couldn’t have done better.

I thought of my two young adult daughters, both working in South Korea and not with us onThanksgiving. I wondered what they were giving thanks for. Was I on their list? For what exactly? Have I come close to giving them what my parents gave me? What more should I have done? How could I have done a better job helping to raise them? And in the spirit of not just dwelling on past mistakes, I asked myself what I can start doing now so that I can look back on a job well done as a dad, when it’s late in the fourth quarter of my life, the bird is picked clean, and the keg has run dry.

Maybe it was my feeling like I had eaten a Volkswagon that made me resolve to hit the gym on Black Friday. That led me to think ahead to New Years Eve, when we make resolutions with varying degrees of thoughtfulness and seriousness, sometimes at 11:59 p.m. and sometimes the following day while someone is pounding on our skulls with a roofing hammer. I began to think that maybe we should start developing our New Year’s resolutions on Thanksgiving Day while we’re considering the great things in our lives.

A Father’s New Years Resolution

As parents, this might mean simply thinking through how to do a better job with our kids over the next year. How to give them some important things they might thank us for on some future Thanksgiving Day, and even want to pass along to their own kids.