Find joy together

From the editor

It’s nearly impossible to avoid the headlines about the nation’s economy, the housing crisis, the crazy bank disaster, the latest child shot in Chicago and casualties in the war on terrorism. Frankly, sometimes it’s hard to think of anything else, even for the most optimistic among us.

But a simple look around the table at our pint-sized blessings shows us there’s still so much to be thankful for this year as we head into a very busy month and the holidays. Focusing on our children, making sure we give them lots of love and smiles, is something we can all do no matter what’s going on around us.

Certified Parent Coach and Elmhurst mom Cathy Cassani Adams ( says she, too, is hearing from a lot of parents worried about the problems facing this country. She’s encouraging them to shift their energies from focusing on the bad to focusing on the good, such as finding ways to help our community. She’s also encouraging them to create new traditions this holiday season that focus on reflection, slowing down and being together.

“The holidays are an awesome opportunity for parents to demonstrate the true spirit of the holiday season, especially when the world around us looks bleak. Family time, gratitude for what you have and giving to those less fortunate are key ingredients,” she says."The holidays are actually a perfect opportunity to leave the worries of our day-to-day life behind and focus on what is most important—our relationships with each other.”

It’s good advice and this month provides us a lot of opportunities to be with our kids while also teaching them about responsibility and thanksgiving.

On Nov. 4, take your kids to the polls with you. The ride or walk to the polls is a great opportunity to talk with your kids about your values and beliefs and why you will vote for one presidential candidate over the other.

On Nov. 11, as a family, pause to thank the more than 23 million veterans counted by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007. No matter your feelings on our current war, those who put their lives on hold to support our nation deserve a heartfelt thank you. Whether you attend a recognition ceremony in your community or make a little token of appreciation for a veteran you know, both are great opportunities to talk with your kids about how important our veterans are to all of us.

On Nov. 27, think beyond the turkey, football and stuffed bellies. Give thanks as a family by doing something for others, such as volunteering to serve a meal to the less fortunate, and give thanks to each other by remembering all the good things being together brings.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my family, along with hundreds of other Chicago area families, will head to Columbus, Ohio, for the Mid-America Irish Dance Championships. Whether they win or lose, I am thankful I’ve had the opportunity to watch my children set a goal and work extremely hard to achieve it.

I am also especially thankful to all of you for reading Chicago Parent every month and sharing your thoughts and your ideas. I love hearing from you.

Happy November.

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