I grew up in a home where gratefulness was practiced on a regular basis. There were times as a child when I thought to myself, “Don’t my parents realize that what we have isn’t that great?” I never said anything, though, because they were always so happy.
My father worked long hours in the family business, and every penny he made, we saved. My mother did the groceries on a tight budget and we ate what I have always referred to as our Cuban refugee menu. There was always food on the table, but just enough for the four of us.
We never had boxes of cereal, or chips, or cookies just sitting in the pantry. We didn’t have a pantry. Our kitchen was the size of a small closet.
We had four plates, four glasses, four forks, etc… We never lacked anything, but we didn’t grow up with a closet full of clothing, and a toy chest filled with toys.
I had three dolls that I can remember, and one of them I had brought from Cuba. I never owned a Barbie- the Santa that visited my house couldn’t afford it. The only store- bought clothing I owned was what my mother could not make.
Every single object we owned had value, because it had taken effort in order to obtain it.
Thinking back on my childhood, I realize how truly blessed I have been.
I didn’t own a lot of things as a child, and yet my life was filled with an abundance of hugs and kisses, laughter, and understanding.
The best gift a parent can give a child is to teach him to be grateful- grateful for his family, for his friends, his health, his life, for the warmth from the sun, and the rain that falls.
It’s not easy being grateful all the time. It’s not easy giving thanks when times are tough or when you’re facing a difficult illness. But, giving thanks makes us strong, because believing and not doubting that things will get better strengthens our faith.