With Thanksgiving Day upon us, Christmas shopping is just around the corner. My wife and I were talking about how her mom used to take her to Heggy’s Nut Shop in Canton to pick-up boxes of chocolates to give as gifts to various individuals who made their lives easier – like their letter carrier, news paper carrier and garbage man for example. Evelyn also used to make trays of cookies or brownies for people who helped them with things like plowing their garden or clearing their snow.
Our parents taught us to show thankfulness by their example, but it seems they were much better at remembering to do so than I am. I must admit I take way too much, and way too many people, for granted. I enjoy the benefits of what they bring to my life without my giving much thought to showing them any appreciation. This thanklessness becomes more common with each successive generation. During winter, we try to keep an eye on the walkways and steps around the home of a neighbor lady. To show her appreciation, she makes gallons of soup, home-style pizzas and huge boxes of Italian cookies for us. It’s a good thing my uniform pants have stretchy waistbands! Just like my mother-in-law, my wife tries to make sure our family remembers to say “Thank you” to those who bless us – and there are SO many to remember!
Our public servants, such as our emergency services and waste and recycling workers, do their jobs – usually while most of us are sleeping – day in and day out. Along with them, I can think of many other folks who deserve appreciation for improving the quality of our lives, even though they’re “just doing their jobs’. Without their services, our lives could get very complicated or very bland very quickly. While watching my daughter practice for the Christmas play at First Presbyterian Church tonight, I thought about those who teach us and our children. I also thought about those who play the beautiful music we enjoy. My pastor suggested thanking school bus drivers. Good idea. I thought about the city’s “Flower Bomb” crew who water all of those beautiful flower baskets that hang from light poles all over downtown in the summertime. With the recent snowy weather, I thought about the city and PENNDOT snow plow drivers. And of course, a certain librarian is near and dear to my heart. There are so many more whom we should be thankful for.
Giving thanks is a habit that can be learned over time if we are intentional about it. Giving thanks doesn’t need to be done only at Thanksgiving either. Try this challenge; keep a note pad handy and write a note with a name or vocation every time someone does something that helps you or makes your life better. Buy a box of blank thank you notes and intentionally go down your list, writing and giving someone a note every time you’re blessed or helped whether it’s the person who filled the pot hole at the end of your street, the person who cleans the bathrooms where you work or go to school or church, or even a family member who has been kind or helpful. Giving thanks to so many others will actually cause us to realize how richly blessed we really are!
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