Lance Scranton: Unexpected gratitude
Think of the things we should be thankful for each and every day. It can be difficult, because we are a striving lot, and looking to make things better is as natural to our human condition as breathing. Even greater, is our capacity to criticize things that aren’t as they should be. We each set up conditions of approval based on our personal standard and expectations of behavior directed toward us.
Spend a few weeks, or months, or even years in a building full of young people whose cognitive construct of the world is predominantly ridicule, resistance, and refusal. It requires an above-average amount of idealism to combat teenage angst and overcome the critical nature of a public school student, but even they know the value and importance of thankfulness.
The struggle within each of us is between forsaking gratitude and embracing a critical reference point for living, and the habits of a critical worldview are hard to break. However, sometimes, the unexpected happens and sends a shockwave through our senses and perceptions about life. The unexpected trial or tribulation that forces us to take less for granted knowing that little of we have is as deserved as we might think.
Perhaps it’s an unexpected favor or blessing that restores our sense of gratitude and reminds us of the community of our lives. Thanksgiving arrives each year, and we are faced with the implications of how we determine our worldview. Some will never be able to manage the exercise of thinking and being thankful for that which has made a difference in their lives. Others ponder the vast array of circumstances and privileges that provide us a life advantage enjoyed by very few when compared to the rest of the world.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely North American tradition that values the marked difference a life of gratitude can have on our outlook and attitude. Just think about the vast number of people who make possible many of the benign privileges we have in life. To focus on the things we should be thankful for can be really difficult at times, but it is well worth the time, especially during a week during whic we actually celebrate the act of thankfulness.
Try thanking those around you a little more, and think about the people who make our way of life possible, and go out of your way to say a simple, “thanks.” As I am fond of telling those closest to me: “If you want to feel better about yourself, stop focusing on yourself; go thank someone, or help them out, and you’ll be amazed at much better you will feel.”
A very happy Thanksgiving, reader, and thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this column.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.