I remember sitting through high school classes the week before Thanksgiving break, and every single teacher would ask the same question, "What are you thankful for?" Of course, there were a million basic answers: friends, family, dogs, food, education, a house, etc., etc. In every class, the same question was answered the same way. Don't get me wrong, I beyond thankful for those things as well, but I think we need to dig deeper.
Most of the time we process this question, we answer with material items which is totally acceptable. Listen, I use my phone and laptop every single day (and honestly I wish I didn't have to), so I would be completely lost without them. I just think that we overlook so many other things to be thankful for which is why I always loved my College Algebra & Trigonometry teacher, because she always made everyone say something that wasn't already said. We had to really think about what we were thankful for.
So, I am thankful for my family and my parents this year, but let's expound on that. I'm thankful for what they taught me as a young boy. I notice more and more everyday that people often times do not hold the door open for strangers anymore, and when you do, they give you a strange look with a forced "thank you." Why is it that common courtesy has become foreign? What I know as manners, others know as abnormal.
One of my favourite memories thus far in life is the pre-graduation breakdown with my mum. She worked at my high school so she started crying one Sunday because she knew she couldn't do that at my actual graduation. We discussed how her upbringing differed greatly from mine because she wanted the best she could give, and it went something like this (if I remember correctly - I do just, by the way!),
" I wish that I was good at writing the notes, and giving the gifts. I know you love the little things so much, but I'm just not very good at them I want to be more than anything because you are just so, so good, and you deserve to have that. Justin, you have such a good heart, a kind heart, just a heart full of compassion that I wish I could take credit for giving, but you just love people. Nothing matters to you; not their religion, their race, what they look like, how they eat, it doesn't matter. You have such a good heart."
Yes, I'm thankful for my parents, but more importantly, I'm thankful for the lessons they taught me. I'm thankful that I have manners to pull someone else's chair out for them at dinner. I'm thankful for the happiness; nothing is so bad that you cannot smile. I'm thankful for the desire to make connections. I could go on and on, but it all leads back to one final thing.
I know you think you didn't give it to me, mum, but someone had to at least kick-start my heart to be so good. Thank you for teaching my heart kindness.