Time to pause and reflect

Extra doses of thankfulness are needed right now
Joel Kroenke at his Shawano home

Greg Mellis | NEW Media
Joel Kroenke

I was asked recently to share my thoughts on thankfulness and I promptly agreed to do so. Frankly, the thought of having my words shared so broadly takes me well out of my comfort zone, so this is not an easy process for me, but I am thankful for the opportunity.

Thankfulness is important stuff. In giving thanks we, by necessity, must first take some time to pause and reflect before expressing our thanks in our words, our deeds, our prayers, and our actions. Reflection can lead to clarity. Expressing our thanks can help to reinforce positive healing behaviors and give hope and purpose as we are reminded of “the good.” We live in “interesting times” so perhaps some extra doses of thankfulness are especially needed right now.

I have been blessed with a rich and interesting life. I am thankful for my family. My parents were hard working, fair minded, humble, tolerant, generous people. They loved nature and loved to laugh. My kids are now bright caring adults with loving spouses.

I am thankful for my friends, for those who reach out at important times and who lend support to the arts and music and historical preservation and land preservation efforts that I feel are important.

I am thankful for my education, from the early years in a one room schoolhouse through the university years and my experiences internationally in the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program.

I am thankful for my work experiences, from my early days on the farm and at my dad’s sawmill and through my work in construction and in education at the Homme school and College of Menominee Nation. I am thankful for my health and surviving various “near death” adventures along the way.

I am thankful for the wide diversity of people, places, ideas, and experiences that have come my way, and for living in a country that, at its best, embraces freedoms, and diversity, and tolerance and peaceful processes toward resolution of conflicts.

Take time during this Thanksgiving holiday and throughout the year to reflect on your own good fortunes and share your gratitude widely. Thankfulness is good stuff. Pass it on.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.



Joel Kroenke is one of the founders of the Shawano Folk Festival.