Ever since I was a little kid, I hated squash. My mom used to make it mashed, like potatoes and the orange mush would sit on my plate getting cold as the meal went on. “Eat your squash Germaine!” she’d say to me from the far end of our big oak table. “There are starving children in China who would be grateful for that food.” Unfortunately for me, none of them were invited to dinner and I’d do whatever I could to spread the orange stuff around my plate so it looked as if I ate some.
Of course, we never thought about the starving children in China or any kid less fortunate than us. Like most kids, we’d complain about having to eat food we didn’t like and do our best to throw it into the garbage. We were so much more fortunate than millions of kids in the world yet we didn’t know it.
As an adult, I understand what my mom was trying to teach us. Food doesn’t magically show up on our plates and we took that for granted. We took everything for granted. All the basic necessities went unnoticed. Our big warm house, even the clothes we wore but the older I get, the less I let these things go unappreciated. My parents got us off to a great start. They provided safe shelter and loving support and they never made us feel concerned about the future. They built our solid foundations so we could in turn, help others build theirs. I have come to realize, that’s how it works and in doing this, my parents gave us a huge gift.
Now it’s time to share that gift with others. Part of being able to help others is showing gratitude for what we have and where we are in life. Yeah I know, we hear this a lot but how many days do we complain about something stupid? I was at a state swim meet last weekend and there were a few events for the physically disabled. An entire natatorium watched as some of these young swimmers rolled their wheel chairs to their starting block and pulled themselves out of their chairs. As if that wasn’t brave enough, they dove in at the starting gun and swam some of the same events the able-athletes swam. This took my breath away. How strong in body AND mind were these young athletes that they could pull their own body weight thru water with little help from their legs. The strength, drive and passion they brought to these events was stunning and yet I find myself complaining about traffic as I drive to my pool to work out in the morning. Geesh!
The reality of what some people go thru DAILY doesn’t always sink in. Like the squash on my plate, do we really understand how much a starving child would appreciate that food? Of course not! We become immune to the travesties in our world and I suppose it’s our human defense mechanism kicking in to protect us.
There is only so much we can mentally process but I believe on a daily basis, we must begin to absorb what others go thru and be grateful for the lives we have.
So this Thanksgiving as we sit at our family tables, let’s be TRULY grateful for all we have. Let’s be grateful for the food, the family, our health and the love around us. Then, let’s take that gratitude and share with those less fortunate. Continue taking five minutes a day to appreciate what you have and extend that gratitude to a stranger. Smile, say hello and notice if someone needs help because we are rich my friends and we don’t have to spend a dime to share our wealth. Teach your children to be grateful so when they grow up, they can share their gratitude.
Let someone say, “thanks for giving” and feel that sense of gratitude.
Use your strong foundation and get involved. Now more than ever, others need you. Volunteer to help the homeless by working at a local food pantry. Volunteer to save your favorite mammal from extinction by signing petitions that get forwarded to our politicians. Volunteering our time is just as important as volunteering our money and there are many worthy groups who need you!
Oh and about that squash, maybe roast it instead of mashing it and be grateful for all the different ways we have learned to make it so yeah, we can finally enjoy it.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
What are you grateful for?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!