I have fond memories of family dinners at Grandmother's apartment in the heart of DC. Dinners were lovely, formal affairs. My sister and I wore dresses or skirts. Grandmother always used china, silver, and "real" napkins. It was a multi-course meal that included bread, the main entree, salad, and dessert. Once we sat at the table, you didn't get up until the meal was over (not even to use the restroom!).
And I remember saying two graces, one at the beginning of the meal and one at the end. Graces were mumbled through quickly in a rote kind of way, heads bowed, hands together. Although I understood the intention behind grace, it took me years to understand the words.
For many families in the United States, this week marks a time of gratitude and thanksgiving. Although it's a time often associated with football and the Macy's Day Parade, it's also a time we gather together, break bread, and give thanks.
Sometimes we say a prayer as a family. Sometimes one person is invited to say grace. Sometimes we go around the circle, asking each person big and small to name something they're thankful for.
But the key here is that all this thanks-giving is done through words. So perhaps it's time to challenge the norm, to incorporate different ways to offer up thanks.
What if, this year, we took a creative approach? What if we incorporated a nonverbal thanks-giving that gives us a different appreciation and view of all we have to be thankful for?
In that spirit, here are 6 creative ways to share gratitude that you can incorporate this Thanksgiving:
All six of these suggestions will challenge you to explore and share what you're grateful for in a different way that through words. With many of these suggestions, it's recommended you not only share the idea, piece, or item, but also that you spend time explaining why and how it shows your gratitude. Why did you pick that song? What did you draw a picture of? Who is that food prepared for? That level of intention only adds to intention of gratitude.
If you use of any of these ideas this Thanksgiving--or if you have additional ones to share--I invite you to leave a comment in the fields below. Let us know what you've done!
Follow me on Twitter @KimberlySMoore for daily updates on the latest research and articles related to music, music therapy, and music and the brain. I invite you also to check out my website, www.MusicTherapyMaven.com, for additional information, resources, and strategies.