Attitude of Gratitude

Posted on November 1, 2008

I grew up with an attitude of gratitude. Not that I knew it at the time. Nor did I know that my family would have been considered poor by most people’s standards. However, in our little farming community, people were judged by their integrity and character, not by the kind of house they lived in or the clothes they wore. A good thing since our home had no indoor plumbing, no phone, no TV or other amenities that are normally considered essential.

My mother was an excellent seamstress and made my clothes from feed sacks. She would accompany my father to the feed store in town and pick out the designs she liked. It’s hard to believe but they made beautiful print dresses. Not only did Mama sew for our family of six kids, but also for others who had less than we did. And if someone needed food, Mama usually had some jars of canned vegetables in the smokehouse.

If anyone in the community needed help in the fields or with livestock, they knew they could count on my father and my brothers. Besides keeping up a farm, Daddy worked at the smelter in town. And yes, there were some tough times when the smelter shut down for months and we had to have assistance, but we even shared those food commodities with others. Giving was a way of life and I am thankful I grew up with such generosity.

I tried to raise my children the same way, offering opportunities for them to share with others. I remember my son, Aaron, coming in from school one day and upon seeing a plate of cookies asked, “Is that for us or someone else?” Of course they always had their share of cookies, even if I was baking for new neighbors or someone in need, but I have to admit the comment concerned me. I wanted my kids to learn about giving but never to feel left out.

Years later, I saw the results. Aaron had graduated from college and was working in Houston on his first job. As with many new graduates, he was barely making ends meet so when we met him for a fun weekend at Six Flags, his dad and I made sure he left with a little more money than he came with. I knew he needed it. We said our goodbyes at the theme park knowing Aaron planned to visit a college friend in the area before returning to Houston.

Months later I learned that Aaron found his friend in desperate need, not even having money for food. Aaron went to the supermarket and spent the money we had given him on groceries for his friend. I was so proud of him and knew that he had gotten a clear message of “gratitude and giving” from his childhood.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, most of us will be spending time with our families, sharing food, fellowship and fun. But before you take that first bite of turkey or pass the pumpkin pie, take some time to thank God for the family and friends you love so dearly and the abundance at your table. And of course, don’t forget to share your wealth of blessings with others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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