I suggested what follows in the daily “Moment,” the daily devotion we send out from church. If you want to get that – send me or the church an email firstname.lastname@example.org. I think this is a meaningful thanksgiving exercise. I also think it a good idea for children and adults.
Here is the deal. Brain studies have been done to consider the way in which we perceive time. Why is it that we can look back and say “time passed quickly,” or, “time was slow.”
Seems that as we get older time passes quickly, but when we are younger time passes slowly. Why is this?
The research has indicated that when we do a lot of new and varied things, we record them in our memory. Do a lot of things that are new and varied and there is a lot to record. When we look back – we remember lots of stuff and time seemed to go slowly – there was a lot going on! However, if we fall into a routine – doing more or less the same thing day to day – there is nothing “different, new and varied” to remember – so when we look back, there is not much to remember and – wow – time passed quickly.
So, if we look back on a 4 day trip in which we went to 4 different cities – seems that time passed slowly – we did a lot and remember each city! But a 10 day trip to the same city – time passed quickly – we did not do a whole lot to remember. In the first instance it was 4 days and in the second instance it was 10 days, yet the 4 days seems, in retrospect, much longer.
To return to the second paragraph – younger people are doing new stuff all the time. Older people can fall into patterns. As you get older seems like time passes quickly. And as we get older we fall into patterns, especially in raising children.
The thanksgiving exercise is to list 100 things for which you are grateful from the past year. This forces us to think back over the seasons of the year and all that took place. Some of those moments can blur into “the same ol’, same ol’” pattern of nothing special to recall. So I invite you to plumb the depths of your memory thinking of the moments for which you can be grateful.
This is a way to take Thanksgiving from a prayer before a meal, to a deeper level of spirituality. If we do not “do the work,” we do not get there.