Dear Parents and Guardians,
Happy almost-Thanksgiving. Like many of you, I will be doing some traveling this coming weekend to gather with a large group of my wife’s family members and eat a lot of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pies. My mother-in-law always makes a delicious oyster stuffing that only she and I like, and that is something to which I always look forward at this time of the year. As most of you know, I did not grow up in the United States. My first experience with eating turkey was when I was a teenager. It was fascinating to me why people would make turkey the highlight of a meal, and it is still odd to me why people would put something sweet like cranberry sauce on top of gravy and meat. I stayed with my uncle and aunt’s family when I first came to the US. Since they were also recent immigrants, we did not have any family around us. Our Thanksgiving celebrations back then were pretty small with just the five of us. I remember celebrating the holiday with roasted chicken and various Chinese dishes like pork dumplings. We liked it that way because we always thought turkey meat is bland and dry, and why would we go through the hassle of preparing such a big bird for a small group of people just because other families around us were doing it? However, we always did open a can of cranberry sauce just for kicks, and my cousins and I enjoyed poking at it with chopsticks to watch it jiggle.
Thanksgiving is the most American of all the holidays we celebrate, and at the heart of it is about connecting with those who are important to us. Some of you may be celebrating Thanksgiving the way I described – mixing and matching different traditions – and with your own definitions of family. Those manners of celebration are just as American as the way our forefathers celebrated Thanksgiving back in the days of the pilgrims.
As we do with our teaching practices, it important for us to remember the objective of our endeavors while allowing flexibility for everyone to reach those goals through various means. So, I hope you will have the opportunity this Thanksgiving to connect with those important to you – whether your celebration involves a big turkey dinner or if your turkey dinner is accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, or pork dumplings, tamales, kimchi, kofta, sushi, or baklava.
I wish all of you a great holiday!
McCall Middle School