"Our Answer is God. God's answer is us. Through partnership we make our world better." - Dorian Scott Cole
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The Watering Hole - Conversations on 21st. Century religion.

Thankfulness and Goodwill


In this season of thankfulness and goodwill, do we really have to say thanks? Thankfulness is overrated, goodwill isn't.

Thankfulness is overrated, goodwill isn't.

I saw a woman standing with three young kids this morning in Church, and it reminded me of my wife, who was alone a lot of the time with our kids, struggling the best she could to care for our three and raise them to be successful in life and good to others, while I was trying to earn an income that would give my family everything they needed - by no means not everything to meet their endless wants.

We never looked for gratefulness. When you give something to someone you love, the delight in their eyes is enough reward. Even if there is no delight, but you know it is good for them, it's enough. They never know that as parents, 99.1% of every moment of your life and 99.1¢ of every dollar goes for their wellbeing and support. They don't know that you are there for them for the next 40 years or more, with them moving in and out, stumbling, picking up, and trying again.

They don't know about the personal sacrifices you make: Education (2), rewarding careers (3), personal pleasures (infinite), even a few minutes alone, and continuing to do for them when you are beyond tired, pushing every day from before they get up to after they go to bed to make sure they get to do and have and experience. All of these things are given to them without asking anything in return, or even expecting gratitude. No matter what the sacrifice, kids are never grateful - it's all a given in their little worlds where they never work for anything. In their teen years, ungratefulness is often in vogue, and good behavior and cooperation are often out of vogue. But you continue doing for them, and they generally get past those attitudes.

They never know that their mother cared so much that she thinks mostly about what she didn't do as well as would be perfect... if she had just been a perfect person. But one day you usually get to look back and see that your children are successful in life and good to others despite all the obstacles you faced and the personal deficiencies you had. Somehow they got it right and they raise their children without so much as a thank-you. And you smile - their success is your reward.

We are all children on life's path. We all help each other, whether there is a thank-you in it or not, we all stumble and get picked up, and we know that in ways big or small, we have contributed to other's success. We often forget to say thanks, especially to God, who just smiles and continues.

Goodwill is never overrated. Many in our community have lost jobs, homes, and all that they have because of our deep recession. It's a good time to help. And if you get a chance, say thanks to someone. Grateful hearts are appreciative and recognize that sacrifices and contributions were made for them.

- Dorian


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