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Breed the Change You Want to See in the World

The Only State That Creates and Loves Its Own Citizens

It’s easy to be gloomy this November; the days of winning so much we get bored of winning seem far behind us. But perhaps we should be grateful for the wake-up call. It’s in that spirit that Align’s parent company, New Founding, invites you to take this brief Cancellation Risk Assessment quiz

That said, November also brings Thanksgiving. Though quintessentially American, the holiday invites us to contemplate ties even more lasting than those fostered by politics. 

Not to say we shouldn’t fix what’s wrong with our elections or our politicians; just that we shouldn’t let the relentless media coverage blind us to what’s really at stake. Spare us the breathless talk of “our democracy.” A system of government is only worth preserving insofar as it enables the thriving of the institution that precedes it: the family. 

G.K. Chesterton writes, “The essential of [marriage] is that a free man and a free woman choose to found on earth the only voluntary state; the only state which creates and which loves its citizens. So long as these real responsible beings stand together, they can survive all the vast changes, deadlocks and disappointments, which make up mere political history.” That’s some nation-building we can all get behind. 

Provisions

Sit-down dinners together as a family should be the rule, not the exception. Around here, however, we’re happy just to nail the “sitting down” part; soccer season means this meal is often bolted fifteen minutes before piling into the minivan. 

Sometimes just sharing a toasty beverage is enough to spark conversation. This holiday season Gold River Trading Co. offers its Classic Family Bundle, with Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Spice, Pumpkin Spice Tea, and their signature American Breakfast Blend tea. Enjoy it with your family – or gift it to another. 

Training

Properly cooking a turkey for a large group of loved ones can be nerve-wracking. But once the bird is safely out of the oven, the true test of the pater familias begins: carving it, usually in front of many hungry spectators. For those newly called up to the Thanksgiving big leagues, this guide offers what it purports to be the simplest, easiest method. Good luck and Godspeed. 

Culture

John D. Fitzgerald’s Great Brain series depicts a family of three boys growing up in small-town Utah in the late 1890s. As one of three boys ourself, his unsentimental yet affectionate treatment of the rough-and-tumble politics and elaborate codes of such a society rang true. Equally fascinating were the period-appropriate situations our characters faced: a family invites ridicule for being the first to install a “water closet;” a friend loses a leg to tetanus after stepping on a rusty nail. Having recently revisited the series with our own son, we’re happy to say it holds up. 

Central to the books is the charismatic and mischievous middle brother, T.D. – the titular “Great Brain.” A entrepreneurial-minded genius, T.D. never encounters a problem so grave he can’t solve it – all while making a buck or two. As he does the right thing for the wrong reasons, his younger brother’s narration alternates between burnishing his myth and puncturing it, a tone familiar to anyone who grew up with siblings. 

Exemplar

Some artists make no room for a spouse or children; they live a stingy domestic life so that their work may flourish. Others, often unknown, find their talents neglected by the constant demands of domesticity. Still others manage the best of both worlds, leaving both an artistic and familial legacy behind. Jazz pianist and teacher Ellis Marsalis Jr, who died in 2020 at 85, was such an artist. 

One of Marsalis’s last performances was with four of his six sons, also jazz musicians. That they (especially Wynton and Branford) surpassed him in individual success never bothered him. He was proud to have launched such a formidable dynasty with his wife of 58 years, Dolores. For Marsalis, music made no sense apart from the people who played it. “We don’t teach jazz,” he once said. “We teach students.”


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