I was stuck in the phase of being a brace face and rocking an afro the first time I understood “always be thankful for what you have”. (I did not yet know what hair product was) Trust me, I was the most ungrateful brat you would have ever met.
I was only fourteen years old when I walked down the streets of Antigua Guatemala and witnessed what true homeless was. Yes, I had seen homelessness countless amounts of times growing up. But for the first time I saw an old man with nothing but shreds of clothes, no legs, and not even a sign begging for money. Most importantly I saw people walk right past him and not even stopping to drop some change in his hands. For the first time in my life I thought… Thank you God for the things I have.
I have been going to Guatemala from the time I was fourteen years old. I lived there for six weeks, and then got hooked and started going twice a year. I have seen children with out moms, starving. Literally starving, not the “I am going to die if I don’t get to eat lunch in 15 mins starving” actually starving. I have seen kids with rotten teeth, to where their teeth are simply black. I have seen families with plus six kids living in a house made of mud and card board. So yes, I have seen things to understand I should always be thankful. I was recently told by someone “well you are able to be so grateful because you have seen things no one else ever has.” That statement could not be more wrong. I thought to myself…. Haven’t you seen things in this world or country to make you think I am so thankful for the things in my life? And that is what sparked the idea of writing this.
I am a junior in college. So most of the time I hear students complain about how poor they are or how hard it is taking umpteen credit hours. But college students you should be the most thankful of them all! While driving down the road to your class you see a homeless person. You should think “Thank you God for giving me the ability to attend college so that hopefully one day I am able to have a job to provide for myself” but instead you are much to worried about making it to class on time or what hot girl will be sitting next to you in class.
The next person I must critize is the adults. I am not technically a full blown adult yet, but I am around them enough to know. You are on lunch break from the fast pace of being a doctor. You have been slammed all day, with people complaining about having a minor cold, or better yet someone with a shiny grill, an iphone 6s, brand new jordans, and their nails done, and are also on obama care. You scroll through your facebook feed and see “Guatemala becoming one of the most malnutrition countries in the world” (probably because I shared it) but that doesn’t really hit home to you so you click on another link. It’s a GoFund me for a family that’s child has just been diagnosed with cancer and doesn’t have much time to live. You think “hmmmm that is sad, well lunch is over, time to go back to these horrid people” Instead you should have thought “Thank God my children have food on the table, and are completely heathly”
So I have touched on college students, adults, and you’d think I’d start to pick on teenagers but no. What about the kids? Little kids are not grateful or thanking God for what they have, and they will be our future some day!
Your kid goes to school in 15 degree weather. You have him dressed to the T. He has four layers of clothes, a big winter coat, and to top it off gloves and a hat. Your child sits next to the new kid in class. The new kid in class came to school in a t-shirt, pajama pants, and flip flops. He said this was his 5th school of the year because he was in foster care. Now some kids would feel bad for this child and tell their parents. But the sad truth is some would think “why is he dressed like that? He looks so weird” and not simply think “Thank you God for giving me a family who loves me.”
Yes, I have seen more than most people will ever see in their lives, and I am still in college! Yes, I have every reason to be thankful for what God has given me. But so does the average Joe. Maybe some people haven’t seen the extremes I have seen, but they have seen hardships. We as people can not be thankful for things because we have accepted the fact that we are having a much worst time than someone else. Yes, that may be true. Those patients may drive that doctor crazy. And he may think no one has a job like me. No one understands what I go through day in and day out. Yes, that is very true. But he has a job. He provides for his family. We as people need to start using the cliche saying”ALWAYS be thankful for what you have.” We need to start saying this quote/saying to our kids, to our parents, and to a college student complaining about his homework. Be thankful for what you have and where God has placed you. He always has a plan, and he doesn’t promise tomorrow.