Monday, May 7, 2007

Thanks for Nothing!

Being thankful colors everything related to our lives. It will give you a completely different perspective than you would have without it.

As I have raised children I have tried to inculcate in them the need for thankfulness. Just today I was talking to one of my kids about Mother’s Day coming up and what he could do. His immediate comment was to ask why there is mother and father’s day but no kid’s day. He saw this as a grave injustice. I knew the conversation was over for the time being.

I think self-centeredness is the enemy of thankfulness. We can’t see how grateful we should be for what we have and for what others add to our lives.

What got me thinking of this was a story in the paper Saturday about a scholarship fund. Tim Marquez seemed like a regular kid who went to Abraham Lincoln High School (the same one I graduated from.) Things changed after that. He went on to become very wealthy in the oil business. Awhile back he and his wife gave a gift of $50 million to start a scholarship fund to help every graduate of Denver Public Schools go to college.

The foundation made some calculations and came up with a figure of $3000. Their goal was to meet an “unmet need.” Parents would need to pay some, schools may give discounts, and there is financial aid and other scholarships.

What is amazing in this is parent and student reaction. Some families are mad and claiming that Marquez is reneging on his promise. A guy gives $50 million and he still gets criticized. I guess what some people want is all expenses paid, spending money, booze money, fancy clothes money, a new car, cool pad and ???

I see the wisdom of requiring work or contribution on the student and family’s part. We don’t appreciate what comes too easy.

That brings me back to thankfulness. I know there are many students and families that are thrilled with every gift they receive. I was at a meeting of our neighborhood organization last week and they gave five $100 scholarships to local kids. Winners were there with their family and they seemed genuinely thankful for the $100 check. Without thankfulness, they could have looked at it completely different. “A lousy hundred dollars, do you have any idea how much college costs?”

Each of us has a lot to be thankful for. If we look around, we will find many people who have it a little harder than us and who have less than us. Or, maybe they have more, such as sickness or other problems.

Thankfulness makes all the difference in the world.


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