My girls didn't have school today so during the baby's nap we made this Mayflower ship out of paper and glue. As I was getting the supplies together to make it, it occurred to me that the whole concept of the Mayflower would probably be lost on them since I don't know that I've ever taught them about the Pilgrims and the Indians.
I sat them both down and with a little help from The Mayflower Voyagers Charlie Brown movie, talked to them about why the Pilgrims came to America, what it was like for them when they got here and why we celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast and turkey.
We had a long discussion about how the pilgrims weren't from this country and yet that didn't mean that they couldn't be friends with the Indians. We talked a lot about how the pilgrims were white and the Native Americans were brown and yet that didn't stop Squanto from helping them because they needed help. We talked a lot about how they didn't speak the same language or believe in the same God. They didn't have the same ideas about government or religion or clothing or a whole list of other things but that didn't stop them from joining together to make a formal agreement to protect each other.
I realize they had their differences. I realize eventually it didn't turn out so well for the Native Americans. But for the first Thanksgiving - the pilgrims and the Indians, the whites and the brown, old and young, educated and not...they all came together and had a feast.
We talked about how at Thanksgiving we think about everything we are thankful for. We talked about how like the Indians, it is our responsibility to protect and help those who it's harder for, because they need our support, our sympathy and most of all, our love. We talked about how it doesn't matter if you are white or brown or black or purple. It doesn't matter if you believe in our God or another. It doesn't matter if you wear the same clothes or think the same about the government or come from the same place. We need more love.
So this year I look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving by watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and eating a dinner of popcorn, toast and jelly beans and making turkeys and crafts and treats. I am truly grateful for the example of the first Thanksgiving, when they put aside their differences and came together to feast together. That is something to celebrate.