Later this month, most of us will be gathering together around the table with our families, whether parents, aunts, uncles and siblings, or the friends and neighbors we consider family because relatives are far away. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, if only for the fact that it’s simple (well, maybe not for the cook!). You put some food on the table, and once you’re done feasting, you find the dessert table full of pies! Then the countdown begins to cold turkey sandwiches.
It’s also nice to have a holiday where the biggest argument is over who took all the stuffing, or who gets the turkey legs, as opposed to all the stress of the next coming holiday where we all face the dreaded wrap-open-repeat cycle!
One of the most enjoyable things for me at Thanksgiving is time spent around the table recalling past celebrations and listening to folks tell tales of previous Thanksgivings – those stories often being embellished to one degree or another – but that’s okay, just pass the relish, and please, continue! From my earliest memories of being the youngest to today, depending on the crowd, being one of the oldest at the table and eligible for my own turkey leg, well, it’s a rite of passage.
Our family Thanksgiving tradition is that, at some point during the meal, we each say what we’re thankful for this year. And while there are always a few jokesters and comedians in our crew, you do get a sense of what the last year has been like for folks, and to open up conversations with family members near and far. This Thanksgiving, as you sit around the table, I wholeheartedly recommend that you ask everyone to share, as even the most guarded of my family tend to open up about their lives during the holidays.
If the conversation turns toward health, aging, or just the fact that no one’s as young as they used to be, use that as a way to talk to the patriarch or matriarch of your family after dinner or over the weekend. Listen to what their issues are and take time to ask what their plans are. The reality is that all of our families continue to age, and we should embrace that instead of avoiding the conversation. Discuss what your loves ones’ preferred future looks like, before it’s too late, or you must be reactive when someone faces a long rehab after a fall or other health crisis.
Whether you’re the parent or child in these conversations, if anything comes up that you feel you should bring up with us, your Family Financial Partners team, let us know so we can answer questions and make sure everyone is on the same page. Most of all, as you think about all the blessings in your life, look around your Thanksgiving table and remind yourself just how lucky you are to have those people around you.
Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.
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