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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


What are you grateful for?

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for. We often dwell on what we don't have. It's easy to do when the media surrounds us with what we should have; must have. If we don't have these things, we feel inadequate. What do we really need?

When my children were young, they would be inundated with commercials for the toys they had to have. Now that they are young men, they are bombarded with the same - grown up electronic toys; also must- haves.

When he was young, I told my son, "no, he could not have that toy." He replied by saying, "I'm tired of being poor." The blood nearly burst out of the veins in my head! I wanted to put him in the car and drive him to places where people really were poor, to give him some healthy perspective. Instead, I got a grip on my emotions and told him that in fact, he was so privileged. He had a nice home to live in, his own room, a computer, TV, pets, good food to eat, instruments to play, etc., etc. In addition, he had two responsible, working parents, who could provide more than he "needed," and much of what he wanted. How dare he be so selfish?

I told him maybe we should have an experiment. I would provide just what he needed and I felt was my moral obligation to provide him. That would include a bed in a heated home, meals and clothing. Everything else was not necessity, rather, they were gifts of abundance. He went to his room to consider it and came out with a straighter perspective. He didn't want to give up all the "extras." He understood that not everyone has all that he has.

Of course, kids forget and will at times feel entitled. I always need to remind them that they are privileged and that in fact, they should be giving back to those less fortunate. So far, I am pleased with the results. They still want their toys, but now they earn the money to buy them. They hold charity concerts, run a non profit, give blood. It's a start. . . . .

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