9 Ways to be Thankful

I don't are what you think about my cargo shortsHere in the United States we are prepping for Thanksgiving. A favorite holiday of mine because it reminds me to take a moment and realize and take stock of the many good things in my life.  My wife, my kids, my extended family, my friends, my health, etc… ( this list can go on for quite a long time).

I start taking a a close look at the things I am thankful  for at this time of the year, specifically the lessons I have learned and want to pass on to my children.  I am often drawn to considering what lies ahead for them in the coming years and how I can help them prepare.

If there is one thing that I have learned from being a parent it is that you cannot teach from theory alone.  Children learn far better and more completely by example.  So I have made a list of 9 life lessons that I am thankful for.  Hopefully my actions can reflect the lessons in this list, and that if kids are ever asked they can say that they learned the following from me:

  1. Be thankful for your body – Eat right, get exercise, brush your teeth, and get your checkups. You only get one body make sure you treat it right, and it will be ready for you when you need it.
  2. Be thankful for peace. – When we resort to violence to solve a problem it has not truly been solved.  When all is said and done violence only creates new problems that need to be solved later on.  Parties who have been subdued by violence are merely waiting to be strong enough to fight back.  The emotional and psychological damage we do to ourselves when we resort to violence must be accounted for.  It is not always easy to avoid violence, but working with others to find real solutions to  problems means all parties are invested in making them work.
  3. Be thankful for opportunities to be creative and logical – “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”  That saying is attributed to Albert Einstein though it’s authenticity is questionable but I want my kids to understand the message of it.  That both sides of our brain have a role, and the development and use of both are critical to sustained success and happiness. I hope tat they grow up to be “ambidextrous thinkers”.
  4. Be thankful for other points of view – Take the time to consider all sides of any issue.  Start with what you know and believe, then look at the other point of view(s) and understand them as well as you understand your own.  Neither side is 100% right, the truth lies somewhere in between.  If you can see all the sides of any issue you may just discover where you are wrong, without anyone else having to point it out for you.
  5. Be thankful for the freedom to think for yourself – You have a brain and it is good, learn to use it. No one (not even your Dad!) can use your brain better than you can.
  6. Be thankful for your emotions – Love, Laugh, Cry, etc… One of the greatest gifts we have is to be able to feel, so let yourself do it.  It will allow you to connect more deeply to those who you love, be more passionate in what you believe, and make the world around you more beautiful to behold.  I had no idea how deeply I could have feelings for another person until my wife and my children came into my life.  There is nothing more valuable than knowing that.
  7. Be thankful you are different – You will be different then other people… you are an individual.  Peer pressure to be the same as others is giving up on being the wonderful unique person who you are.  No one remembers the person that was busy being the same as everyone else.  I guarantee you, that if you can be yourself through high school and college there will people that look back on their years with you and wish they had been more like you when they had the chance!
  8. Be thankful for opportunities to show empathy – Empathy brings people together and makes us fell less alone.  When you show you care for some one it opens the door for them to not only to care for you back but also to care for themselves.  It builds understanding between people making it easier and more effective to communicate with each other, and ultimately creates trust.  This is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned (and am learning) as a father.
  9. Be thankful for opportunities to work hard – There is nothing of value in this life that you can gain without working hard for it.  Anything that you get without working for you will not value.  I repeat be thankful to Work Hard!

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