My parents told me to never get into a strangers car. They also warned me against swimming so soon after I’ve eaten. They showed me how to ride a bike and how to tie my shoes.
While I was growing up in north Dallas, I observed and learned from the way my parents conducted themselves. In exchange I gained a desire to be punctual and I developed a strong work ethic.
Unknowingly, I was being shown how to be a man with integrity.
My parents are good people. I believe I am a good person, not just because of the compassion that my parents demonstrated toward others but also because I embraced these virtues and I’m sure that if I hadn’t had the willingness to abide and assimilate, then that would’ve been a failure on my part and not theirs.
Of all the life skills and values that my mother and father infused in me, I must say that the one that I cherish the most is the gift of gratitude. The ability to express gratitude is so inherent in me. I cannot imagine not having the capacity to be thankful.
I suspect that those that are forever ungrateful or prone to take things for granted may not have had the resources to aid in their need to foster a gratified conscience. We can’t always fault the parents. One has to be open and vigilant in recognizing any opportunity to fine tune ourselves.
Somewhere along the line, an ungrateful person stopped paying attention. They began to believe in privilege. They came to think they were entitled.
They did not have a higher power, for whatever reason. Maybe they were not raised in a home where any doctrine was present or observed.
I deeply subscribe to the idea that having a God or practicing a religion is the root of learning to be thankful.
I am not a minister or “Jesus freak” nor do I like to shove my religious beliefs in your face or down your throat. I am also in no way stating this as a fact, it’s an opinion. I am not advocating a specific sect or denomination or god for that matter. I am also not telling anyone to find God or be doomed to be an ingrate forevermore.
Think about it; did your family say grace before a meal? If so, what was said, what was the purpose?
Did the prayer contain the words, “Dear God, Thank you for the …….” , ” Heavenly Father, we are grateful for …….: any variation of that thought?
This is where we are first exposed to thankfulness, this and of course each time we received a gift from anyone.
Do you remember your mother standing near you as a wrapped present was handed to you and she would say, before you had a chance to utter a word. “Now what do we sayyy?”, and we would mumble, “thank you”.
Whatever the reason of why we are who we are, grateful or not, may it be because of our upbringing, our religion, our God, or our unwillingness to embrace it, I truly feel that gratitude is a virtue that cannot be cultivated. I know this to be an emotion that is a part of us. For some; it is dormant. It may take a while to wake . It might sleep forever.
On this day of Thanksgiving I want to say that I am thankful for my mother and father and their truths, I am grateful for my brothers and their families for filling my heart with a calming peace. Much thanks to my pets, present and past for showing me I am worthy of trust and bringing me joy when I need it the most. Thank you to my friends for liking me when I was at my worst. Thank you to my best friend for saving my life years ago by being in it and thanks to my boyfriend for the love and most of all; the laughter. I am grateful for the music and grateful for the quiet. I thank God for my job and for my time off. I am grateful to live in this time where I can get married and present my authentic self although I long to revisit a time and place where that was not possible.
Thankful I will remain for my past mistakes and defeats. I am indebted to the lessons learned that strengthened me. I am as thankful as I am hopeful to have a myriad of unknown sweet-imagined possibilities yet to experience.
Finally I must add that I am forever thankful for coffee and Caller ID.
Moreover, I am grateful for you – if you are reading this.