As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we should consider the values of the Pilgrims and return to many of them during the Age of Obama. They had to survive a horrendous winter that killed many of them, get along with the native population, and learn from them in order to survive. The Pilgrims had wanted to settle further south toward Jamestown. But they landed at Cape Cod, which was near a secret fishing area that had been fished for around a century by then. One flounder could feed a family of four for more than one meal. Lobsters the size of dogs could be caught in the ocean; and if there had been oyster fishermen among the Pilgrims, they might have made profit from the pearls that would have been recovered.
But the Pilgrims mainly lived off the land as farmers and hunters. If it weren’t for one of the natives knowing English, the Pilgrims might have had a more difficult time in the New World. They were taught to use fish as fertilizer for their crops, and their Christian faith prevented them from seizing the land from the natives. Even in this area, settlers bought land from the natives because they believed in treating them like owners of the land (even though land ownership was an unusual concept to the natives.)
During harvest time, the Pilgrims had an overabundance and decided to invite their native neighbors to the feast they held to thank God for His providence. There were a handful of women that prepared the feast that lasted longer than just one day for scores of Pilgrims and natives. They may not have had turkey. But they had venison, seafood, and game birds, plus the vegetables they grew in the gardens. There probably wasn’t pumpkin pie since they had little sugar if any needed to make pies sweeter. They could have had pumpkin soup. And like today, when football is enjoyed by fans, sports were participated in back then.
A lot has changed since 1621. Much of it has been for the worst. There were values the Pilgrims had that should be practiced everywhere. Faith was a big reason why they survived. They knew that God had protected them and that doing unto others as you would have them do unto you was showing the love of God to others. They may have believed the natives were heathens that needed salvation. But they had respect for them and were shown respect back. Today, we have too many people not respecting their neighbors and trying to get the best of them. If we had treated the natives fairly everywhere, maybe they could have integrated into society, and we wouldn’t have thought of them as obstacles to progress that needed to be removed.
Pilgrims also believed in hard work. It was either work or starve back then. They believed in the Bibllical principle that if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. They needed to be independent because a trip back to England would sometimes take weeks. With government help today sometimes a phone call or e-mail away, people are becoming less independent. If most people were independent like the Pilgrims were, the government wouldn’t need to be so large, and our taxes wouldn’t be so high. Unemployment and poverty would be much more rare because the Pilgrims also believed in helping their fellow man.
Criminal behavior was practically nonexistent back then because being a Christian was more than just going to church on Sunday. It is a lifestyle. Bad behavior couldn’t be tolerated, let alone excused like it is too often today. The leaders had to be honest, God-respecting men who treated people fairly because they knew God was watching them. Today, politicians are elected because they tell the voters lies they want to believe. Caring for someone was a choice and not an occupation that paid a salary. Being responsible for families was the job of the father first and the mother as his partner. The children respected their elders and didn’t go out and punch people and consider it a game. Children helped their families and didn’t make plans to kill others as a handful of people have done during the last few years.
Morality was a virtue, and those who considered sex play were scorned. The book “The Scarlet Letter” may have taken place a generation or so after the Pilgrims came here, and for good reason. As society lowers various moral standards, it is difficult to raise them again. Today, it is almost considered a right to be sexually active. We may not be able to raise the standards back to where they were when the Pilgrims arrived. But we can at least try to follow what the Bible states because the King James Version of the Bible was available back then and is still popular today.
I would hate for the day to come when reading accounts about Pilgrims is prohibited in schools because they would be considered religious writings that are attacked by atheists and other anti-Christian groups. It is bad enough that they have prohibited Christmas celebrations in schools that honor Christ. They must never forbid the celebration of Thanksgiving and the honoring of the Godly Pilgrims that helped make this nation great.
Photo Credit: alexsimoes (Creative Commons)