Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thankful

Being thankful is simply a way of acknowledging that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that I’m not special. When things happen to my benefit, I’m pleasantly surprised and I appreciate it. If there’s an agent of that benefit at hand, I say, “Thank you.”

  • When a police officer stops traffic so I can cross the street safely…
  • When my wife prepares dinner for me…
  • When a colleague shares information that I can use…

…I’m thankful and I say so.

Privilege is the enemy of thankfulness. Privilege treats whatever happens to its benefit as an entitlement that is expected and deserved. A 2008 survey showed that nearly all Americans have received multiple forms of assistance from the Federal government—from student loans to Medicare—regardless of income level, party affiliation or ideology. But, while all respondents acknowledged receiving specific benefits, those that identified themselves as conservative were less likely to say “yes” when asked if they had ever used a “government social program.” It seems that we’re all both makers and takers, but some of us apparently are willing to acknowledge the help we receive—and be thankful for it—and some are not.

Being thankful makes it easier to identify with others, even when we don’t have much in common. My kids had many formative influences beyond our home—some good, some bad—but I’m thankful for just about all of them. I would hate for them to be limited to what they learned from me or from people who are just like them! I believe that if we had sought an environment of privilege for them, instead of being thankful for where they were and working hard to make it better, they would be poorer for it.

After all, if you find the perfect school, neighborhood or church and become a member, you’ll spoil it! And no one will be thankful for that.

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