For many seniors, this will be the first holiday in several years where families will gather after the restrictions of the COVID pandemic. Recently, I returned to Wisconsin for a family wedding and reunion. What surprises! Babies now were busy little people. Everyone seemed pleasant and cordial. A wedding environment added to the unity and peace.

Holiday events can be stressful. Regardless of previous conflicts and issues, it’s a great time to start anew. Among family and friends, we can heal divisions. We can carry the spirit of the season to our neighborhoods, villages, cities, states and nation. There is no need to be divided. Find common ground, similarities and likes. Build on them.

We can recognize the beauty of our diversity — the mixed cultures, the granddaughter with a ring in her nose, the grandson with lots of tattoos and gauges in his ears, the 30-something adult with pink hair, and the blonde-haired grandmother in tight leather pants. It is a beautiful world after all.

When you are together, skip comments about appearances. Focus on good memories through the years. Avoid discussing politics. Consider the elections as being over. Ask the youth about their favorite subjects at school and what they are doing for fun? Want a lesson in technology, ask about the new features on their special super iPhone. Show that they are valued and loved. Be sure to move about and cover everyone. End by responding with, “Thanks for sharing.”

Some armchair philosopher stated: “We are in the same boat.” Damcen Barr in From Woman up wrote: “We are not in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts. Some have canoes and kayaks. Some are drowning. They can’t even float. Just be kind and help when you can.

Our challenge as seniors is to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Help bring family, friends, neighbors and other community members together. Set an example with kind words, acts of kindness and renewed connections with others. Reconcile with family members who have been estranged. Reach out to the less fortunate in your community by volunteering, contributing and sharing.

Join with various community groups. Unite in efforts to provide food and gifts, and believe that unity and peace is possible. SL

Ed Baranowski is an award-winning writer, artist, speaker and seminar leader. He lives in Melbourne and can be contacted at fast75sr@gmail.com.