Tweet Ask Mrs. Goode Manners Mrs. Goode Manners RSS Email Mrs. Goode Manners

A 2013 Reflection

{ Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 }

Be thankful for all of your blessings. A trite sentiment that is often repeated without much thought. But, as I  reflect over the past year, I think of how much these words actually resonate. So often during the holiday time, we get carried away with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the season. Did we get the gifts everyone will be happy with? Does our home look nice for entertaining? Do I look thin enough, or have the best outfit for this party, or that party. And, this is not only during the holidays. This can be a year round theme for whatever we have going on in our lives.

This past year, I have learned to slow down and be more appreciative for the things in my life. My oldest son is the main reason for this. If you are able, I highly recommend sending your sons and/or daughters on an immersion trip. His trip to Guatemala was a life-changing experience. Not only for that week, or that month…This trip occurred in June, yet, just a week ago for Christmas, as he and his brother opened gifts, he paused and said, the kids in Guatemala aren’t getting anything. They do not have gifts to open. And, they barely have a roof over their heads. As soon as my other son said something to the effect of, he wished he had received a different XBox game, my older son was all over him. You have no idea how lucky you are, etc. And, with hearing that, my younger son stopped complaining, and I could tell he realized how un-grateful he sounded. Sometimes we all need to be reminded.

I complain incessantly about how much work needs to be done to our home. New paint, floors redone, air conditioning…You get the idea. My new job takes me into the heart of San Francisco. I have heard and read about the issues with the homeless there, however hadn’t really seen it day in and day out. From the moment I get off the train, to the time I get to my office, I pass countless homeless people. As we were moaning and groaning over our cold snap, all I could think about was where these poor people were going to be sleeping. Most of the shelters are filled to capacity. Many of us in San Jose remember the article about the father and daughter taking the bus that traveled to the end of the line and back, just so they had a safe place to sleep, and a place for his daughter to do her homework. All I could think of was…Does the painting that needs to be done in our house THAT critical? When I felt chilled at night, I turned the heat up on our thermostat. When it got too hot in the middle of the night, I complained that I had to get up to turn the heater down. And, then…within a few hours, I was seeing the poor people without a roof over their heads.

I guess my wish for 2014, is to teach your children perspective and gratitude. Sometimes we may just need to actually see it and feel it for ourselves. Bring your children to a soup kitchen, or shelter, to help pass out Turkey’s, or meals for Thanksgiving. Have them work at a center that has children their own age coming through to pick out their school supplies. It’s not just about giving money. It’s about giving time and attention. And, though it is difficult, it is necessary. I know it is human nature as a parent to want to shield our children from seeing difficult things. But, the older they get, the more they need to be aware of life’s uglier side. What could be. How lucky they are. Sometimes they just need to walk in someone else’s shoes so they appreciate all they have. Let’s not raise a generation of takers.

I wish all a happy and healthy 2014!

Leave a Reply