November 23, 2016

A Lesson from George Washington – Happy Thanksgiving

Every Thanksgiving, before we gave thanks and broke bread, my father would read to us George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation.  This year, as I prepare to read Washington’s proclamation to my family, I find it incredibly relevant to Pacifica’s theme for this year – thankfulness.


Arnold Friberg: The Prayer at Valley Forge

Washington’s proclamation thanked God for His providence in forming our great nation and prayed for God’s continued protection and favor.  For Washington, thankfulness was critical to our new nation’s ongoing health and success.  At Pacifica, we recognize that thankfulness is vital to our school’s founding.  We also know we must remain thankful as we strive to achieve our mission of teaching students to think and live well.

Being thankful for every aspect of our lives creates a foundation for thinking and living well.  As we become increasingly grateful for our ability to think, reason, and explore the world God created, we become better students.  As we grow in appreciation for the people with whom we share life, we become better spouses, friends, and citizens.  As we grow in gratefulness for our failures and the trials we encounter—that God is in the process of redeeming—we enjoy a deeper experience of peace.  As we grow in our gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we experience true joy.

It is nearly impossible to do life well, to do school well, to do anything well, without this true and authentic spirit of thankfulness.

David ONeilAs Pacifica continues its good work of teaching students to think and live well in Orange County, we must do so with thankful hearts. This year, and for the years to come, I encourage each one of us to live abundant and joyful lives anchored in giving and receiving thanks.  As we respond to everyday events in our lives, may we fight for joy, experience true grace, and extend compassion and understanding to one another.  May we become increasingly thankful.  Only then will we begin thinking and living well.

On behalf of the Pacifica community, I give thanks for all that God has provided, and commit to using the talents and skills we have been given for God’s glory and the good of this community!

With thankfulness,

David O’Neil
Head of School


Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

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