Last year, in an effort to reclaim the importance of thanks within the season of Thanksgiving, Midland Christian School in Midland, Michigan, launched a campaign to refocus on gratitude before the holiday.
“Thanksgiving is a holiday that sits at the intersection of our spiritual and secular cultures,” said head of school Carianne Robbins. “The good things we enjoy about this holiday can easily cloud our ability to taste the even better things that God also makes available to us.”
The school distributed a blank sheet of paper framed with the school logo and “#Thankful” and encouraged children and their families to write their blessings on the paper and post photos on social media holding the signs, with the hashtag thankful. Scripture verses about thankfulness posted in the halls and a blog post by Robbins entitled “7 Tips for Being Thankful at Thanksgiving” were other parts of the school’s Hashtag Thankful project.
Relatives and community leaders, including US Representative John Moolenaar, participated by posting photos. The project garnered more than a thousand likes, comments, and shares on the school’s Facebook page and created a significant increase in engagement and followers.
Thanksgiving holiday was based on the Jewish festival of Sukkot and was conceived, as Congress proclaimed in 1782, “to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His Providence.” Robbins notes that in the US, emphasis on food preparation, relatives, and sporting events have the potential to choke out the thankfulness that the holiday was originally intended to nurture.
“Unless we make intentional decisions in advance, it shouldn’t be surprising that talk around the dinner table will drift to discussion of Black Friday and football statistics without even pausing for gratitude,” she said. “The Hashtag Thankful project gave Midland Christian School an opportunity to help our families as well as our community to remember to be thankful in a fun, positive way.”
See Midland Christian School's Facebook page for their Hashtag Thankful photo album.