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It's one of our favorite times of year—Thanksgiving. It's the best holiday, hands-down, because it mainly consists of eating a lot of food and then doing something fun like hanging out with family, watching football, or maybe even tossing the ol' pigskin around in the yard with brothers, sisters, kids, or grandkids. Maybe we even get to meet up with old friends at a bar on Wednesday night beforehand. For others, Thanksgiving is a welcome vacation which may include boating, fishing, or snow skiing, depending on where life has taken us. Regardless, Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to conviviality — Eat. Drink. Be merry. And then, yes, it's a time for giving thanks. 

What makes your gratitude list this year?
• Family?
• Health?
• Monetary success?
• The ample Thanksgiving meal with the belly-bomb stuffing and artery-clogging gravy?

Of course. All obvious answers.

But did any of us put these on our list?
• Fraternity pranks, almost always ending with something (or someone!) getting damaged?
• Endless tasteless humor?
• The worst roommate ever, the guy nicknamed "Feet"?
• Or how about the intolerable brother commonly referred to as THAT guy?

Maybe we should.

It's easy to view our fraternity experience as the time in our lives where we had little to no responsibility---no mortgages or P&L's, spouses to please or kids to worry about—and limitless boundaries when it came to partying and having insane fun.

But if you allow yourself to look deeper, you can clearly see it was more:

• The gut-busting, soul-cleansing laughter that frees our minds and, as we've now learned, fights heart disease. It was actually healthy!
• Learning how to face our own fears and anxieties to develop relationships with other people in new environments, for fun or for purpose.
• Learning to take risks because we were able to fail in a safe environment.
• Succeeding in a supporting environment, so we learned the rewards of putting ourselves out there and trying hard.
• Learning what it's like to live with other people, or to make better choices about who to live with in the future.
• Gaining healthy pride and self-esteem by developing competence in leadership and the ability to make things happen, like running a house and recruiting new members.
• Learning how to make a difference in someone's life through giving, fundraising or philanthropy.

It was an amazing learning experience, and it was so fun!

As you make your gratitude list for 2016, promise us you'll put the fraternity on your list. And then, send us stories and photos. We'll post them!

And PLEASE, get together with your old buddies--it'll make you live longer!