The Thanksgiving Hand

Do you remember making those "hand turkeys" in preschool or kindergarten? You laid your hand on a piece of construction paper, traced around your thumb and fingers and cut it out. Then you drew a face on the thumb, a wing on the body, glued on a waddle and legs, added feathers on the fingers…and ta-da….a turkey! Now I'm wondering if you might use that same "grown up" hand as another Thanksgiving reminder.

Patricia Katz is a treasured friend, extraordinary professional speaking peer and consultant from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her books, e-zine and messages have inspired tens of thousands of people to accomplish what matters most in ways that bring more peace of mind. As a participant at one of her presentations, she had each of us extend an arm, open a hand with palm facing inward, look at each of the fingers and quickly name out loud five people who are important to us. Laughter followed as we quickly ran out of fingers. Oh yes, we were reminded of the special people in our world. But the real message came when she asked, "how do they know they are important to you?"

As we approach this Thanksgiving season, it is time to give thanks in ways meaningful to the people of your hand. How do you demonstrate your appreciation?

Time: Sitting side by side, being present, learning about something they enjoy, cheering from the side lines, sharing helpful ideas, holding a hand, reading a book, reaching out to visit or call, staying connected.  For over seven years, a beloved family member took time to call her sister-in-law each night at 9 p.m. I might add they began this when they were in their mid-80's. The conversations weren't necessarily long, but they knew that even though they were living alone, they were not alone. There was someone there to tell them, "Good night. Sleep tight. I'll call you tomorrow."

Laughter: Listen to their silly stories, let the laughter out, be childlike with imagination, share a funny story, send your grandchildren funny jokes, recall your growing up sibling shenanigans, discover what brings out a smile and be sure to give them lots of yours, laugh with, not at them. Walter, a member of our small town community, always has a funny story to tell. I'm sure he scours joke books for good, clean humor. I have known Walter for many years and I don't believe I ever say good-bye without a smile on my face or laughing as I walk back to our house.

Recognition, respect and appreciation:  For the little things, for the big things, for being who they are, for the every-age lessons they teach you, for their worthy work, for taking a risk, for getting up after they fall, for their successes, for making a difference, for their journey, for their presence in your life. There are many things important to my farmer husband….clean fields, well-tended equipment, yields which respect valuable resources, safety, neat farmstead, physical exercise, homemade healthy food.  It is when I positively comment on his contribution and result in those areas, that I watch him stand taller, take a deeper breath and smile. The words are a recognition that renews his soul and supports his mission.

So, take a look at your "Thanksgiving Hand." How do the special people in your life know they are important to you? Now is the time to reflect, and then demonstrate your thanks.


Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at,

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