Many educators mistakenly believe they cannot teach about the religious aspects of Thanksgiving. Instead they focus on the Pilgrims hosting a feast they shared with Native Americans. But teachers don't need to treat Thanksgiving as merely a nostalgic remembrance of an event nearly 400 years ago. The reason Americans celebrate Thanksgiving is because the President asks us to. That's right! The President of the United States (whether Democrat or Republican) calls on the nation to "set aside a day of prayer...and give thanks" (Obama 2013), "mindful of the grace bestowed on us by God" (Obama 2012), "thank God for the blessings of freedom and prosperity" (Bush 2002), "express heartfelt thanks to God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us" (Clinton 1999), "thank God for our families, friends, and neighbors" (Reagan 1985), and "express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God" (Kennedy 1963).
Thanksgiving is a federal holiday established by the President who asks the nation to thank the Almighty. As professionals, educators teaching in public schools need to teach what this holiday is about. It's not about the Pilgrims; it's not about the Native Americans; it is about the American people thanking God for His blessings they've received the previous twelve months.
To help public school educators teach more accurately about Thanksgiving, here are some links:
- Teaching students using a Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation
- Presidential calls for thanking God during Thanksgiving celebrations
- The federal government's establishment of Thanksgiving (History Channel Video)
- Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Library of Congress)
Bless the educators you know by sending them a link to this blog.