What Kind of “Tator” Are You?

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. As we go into the weekend before Thanksgiving, I hope you can spend time thinking about the important things going on in your life. While November is often a time to do thankfulness challenges, as I have mentioned before, we can be thankful all year. The older I get, the more I realize that happiness doesn’t come from how much stuff I have, but rather from what I do to make others happy.

Quote of the week: “I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased.” –Oprah Winfrey

Movie of the week:  I know you’re thinking that I’m jumping the gun by recommending a Christmas movie for this week, but I’m going to argue that it works. The original 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I think it’s fitting that the introduction of Santa Claus in the last float signals the “official” start of the Christmas season. You are never too old (or young) to believe in the possibility of dreams coming true. You know me…I’m a big-time dreamer.

Joke of the week: Why was the turkey put in jail? The police suspected fowl play.

Nugget of Wisdom for the week: Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I want to use a Thanksgiving meal favorite to illustrate an important concept…being yourself in this crazy world. I can hear you asking, “What food can possibly do that?” The potato. And now you are asking, “How?” As Gollum from The Lord of the Rings films would say, “Tators, precious.” You see, my husband does an object lesson using potatoes. I will mention only the three most important “tators,” but the list can go on and on.

The first “tator” is the Spectator. Being a spectator is great when you are at a sporting event, watching your favorite team battle it out with their opponents. But it’s not so great if you stand by and let things happen to you without taking an active part in your life. It is easy to become a victim or have decisions made for you that you do not want to go along with.

The next “tator” is the Imitator. While fashion trends are the coolest things and it’s natural to have a person you admire and want to emulate, don’t forget to be yourself. When we try to be something or someone we aren’t, the world misses out on our uniqueness and the qualities that make us special. Every time I watch a Hallmark Christmas movie, I want to dress like the main characters, who typically wear cool purses, fashionable coats and scarves, and ankle boots. Then I remember that I am not these fictional characters, but a real person, and I am perfect the way I am. It seems silly, but don’t think that how someone else looks or acts is better than who you are. (If someone has traits that you admire and want to develop, that is totally different. I have always wanted to be like Queen Clarisse in The Princess Diaries—extremely patient, confident, and always in control of herself in the craziest situations.)

The last of the “tators” is the Commentator. This one can be good or bad one, depending on how you do it. The kind of commentator we do NOT want to be is the one who quietly causes trouble. We need to be intentional in using our words and leave no room for teasing or troublemaking. There are times, of course, for joking with friends, but that should be done with ground rules, so both parties know how to “play fair.” We can be a commentator when we use our words to lift people up. Instead of spreading a negative view on something, think of helpful words that would make someone have a positive experience. For example, it would be easy to say how much you hate a certain subject at school. Other students might think you are “hating” on the teacher and jump in with negative comments, so be sure to clarify by saying, “I really hate math, but I appreciate how the teacher finds extra ways to make math make sense in the real world.” We all have opinions, but it is what we say and how we say it that can make or break a person’s feelings.

This is all just food for thought. Ha…I got you! Get out there, be yourself, and have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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