2017-11-23 / Editorial

Consider importance of family this Thanksgiving

Beyond the Headlines
by Sen. Justin Chenette

Like most people, the holidays are personal. It’s my favorite time of the year.

With Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to take a second and reflect on what this particular holiday means to me. It would be easy to be distracted by the food. What’s not to love about sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows or that gravy boat of deliciousness poured over Stovetop stuffing? I like a good Thanksgiving meal like the next person, but ultimately, it’s who you share it with that represents the true meaning of this day.

One of things I’ve learned volunteering most of my Thanksgivings for the past five years at Most Holy Trinity Church in Saco serving meals to folks, is that what matters most, is the feeling of belonging to something much larger than yourself individually. When our community comes together it’s like an extended family. We help each other in times of need. For those who live alone or who are out of touch with friends or family, this sense of community might be lacking. Community dinners like this are very helpful to bringing light into people’s hearts.

The same could be said for our own families.

Family can come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Family could be of blood relation that you didn’t choose or could be the people in your life that have stuck by you through thick and thin that you did choose. Good, solid friendships can be hard to come by. We must always appreciate everyone in our life whether they are with us for a long time or have come into our lives in the short term to teach us important lessons we can use later. Science has even proven causal links between socialization and health benefits. We are social creatures at heart whether you are an introvert or outgoing. Our hearts beat as one.

In our daily hustle and bustle, it can be tricky finding the time to make the phone call. You know what I mean. Calling that relative or close family friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Or what about the family or friends that live right down the road, but haven’t found the time to meet up. If we treated relationships with other people as a part or even full-time job, essentially prioritizing human interaction, I wonder how our world would look different. Relationships enhance our quality of life. No doubt about it.

At the end of our lives, what will we remember most? How long you worked at the office or how you treated other people or maybe how others treated you? I like to think of life through that lens. Life isn’t measured in how much money you make, the possessions you have or whether you have the corner office. It’s measured in your contribution to the human experience of those around you – the impact you have on other people’s lives which should of course include the people you care about most.

So my recommendation would be to give that person a call, spend time with any family you have, hug someone you care about. It might mean the world to that person and you might end up finding it brightens up your overall outlook.

Just something to think about this Thanksgiving holiday.

Justin Chenette is serving his first term as the youngest senator in the Maine Senate representing Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. He previously served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives. Outside the Legislature, he is the owner of Chenette Media LLC, a marketing & public relations firm, works as the marketing coordinator of Saco Sport & Fitness, and is the president/ CEO of the Saco Bay Center of Civic Engagement, a 501c3 nonprofit service organization. Sign up for legislative updates at www.justinchenette.com or www.Facebook.com/ JustinChenette.

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