I like the new Parenthood TV series, but was a little surprised on November 23, 2010, when the entire family thought it so strange that the “patriarch” (played by the actor Craig T. Nelson) wanted everyone to participate in a prayer before their Thanksgiving feast.
At first he used his grandson’s laptop computer to look up a Thanksgiving prayer online, which reminded me how General Patton in the movie Patton asked a chaplain to write a prayer for him. This also reminded me how several times former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, a Mormon accustomed to giving public prayers, told the story how people had asked his secretary for copies of prayers he had given at various functions . . . and she had to tell them that his honor did not write out his prayers.
Both the former mayor and I grew up in devout Latter-day Saint (Mormon) families where learning to pray while still little kids is common. In fact, if you ever need someone who’s not shocked or shy to pray, ask just about any active Mormon.
Back to Parenthood: Though almost all the characters depicted around the table thought praying was strange, even for Thanksgiving, the patriarch’s prayer showed gratitude, love and joy.
That’s the spirit of Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for, and when my extended family and I gather for our traditional Thanksgiving feast later today, thanking our Father in Heaven for the richness of the blessings we enjoy always precedes the feast. I’m happy we can share those feelings with our friends and family . . . and I extend my gratitude and wishes for a happy Thanksgiving 2010 to all of you. Me ke aloha a me ka mahalo nui no ke Akua.
— By Mike Foley, November 24, 2010