It’s the week of Thanksgiving in the US. It’s one day a year we set aside to think about all the things which make us thankful. Indeed, many people on social media do an entire month of gratitude posts. No matter the historical reasons for the holiday or the clear drawbacks of subsequent shopping the day after, I love the idea behind Thanksgiving. I think we need to be grateful every day!
The other day, I went to the grocery store with my kids. We were buying items to fill up for a box to take to our church to give to needy families for the holiday. We were ONLY buying for the box. About half-way through, my daughter wanted cookies. I told her no. She started getting upset and I had to remind her that she has more than enough food. She gets treats probably too frequently. We were here to make this box for the needy and if she couldn’t be grateful then I’d take her home and she wouldn’t get a treat for a week. (Just for total transparency, she would have pitched a holy terror of a fit before we started trying out new medicine for her ADHD. That stuff has made these situations much more typical. All those parenting advice books and articles are actually right when the parts of her brain are speaking to one another.)
The event made me realize that I don’t think I talk with my kids enough about gratitude. It really hit home because it cost $60 to fill up. There were times in my life when $60 was more money than I had for groceries for the full month. There were countless times as a child when I had to rely on food from churches as well as a host of other means of assistance. I wondered about the people who packed those boxes. Did they know what good their food would do? Did they think, maybe, that it was pointless and didn’t make a difference? Did they in frustration think that they pack them every year, month, week and yet people are always asking for more? To whoever those people were all those years ago, or if you’re one donating food now, I want to thank you and tell you to keep it up. You won’t see it. You’ll never even know it. But it DOES make a difference! In those low times in my life, I couldn’t ever imagine having enough so where I could give to others and bless them. However, because other people did give, I had the strength to keep going. My body was nourished and my soul saw the goodness in people. Belief in that goodness has kept my heart afloat long after concerns for food died away. Now, I can give back too.
There’s a million things for me to be thankful for, but this year, I’m most thankful that I can give. What are you most thankful for?
PS: If you’re wanting to know how to give to your community this holiday season, I do recommend asking at your church, a United Way, YMCA, the hospital, or schools. There are many other fine charities as well but you’d have to look more into if they have a location near you. Next on our list is Toys for Tots. I anticipate this could be difficult as the kids might not want to donate whatever fun toy we buy and I will NOT be buying them a toy to soften the blow. For them to truly understand the act of giving, I want them to not get something in immediate return. I know if it’s difficult this year, then next time will be smoother. This will be the first time in several years that we haven’t just moved over the holidays!