|Teen View: Attitude of gratitude|
|November 25, 2016 Faith Reisig|
Thanksgiving is a time for me to be grateful for everything in my life. Iím blessed by the roof over my head, the food in my house, and the air in my lungs. Iím young and Iím happy. On Friday, I get to go see a movie with a boy I like. Iím busy doing things I love. All of those things, big and small, make me content with where I am in life and all of the things I have.
What I like best about Thanksgiving is that I have the chance to recognize the things I may otherwise take for granted. This holiday gives me the opportunity to examine all of the things I have and remind me that Iím lucky.
While reflecting on all of the things I have, itís important to me that I help the people who donít have what I do. Need is something so prevalent in our world. There are people in need of warm clothing and friendship; people starving for human connection and people that do not have the food they need to stay alive.
Around the world, 73 million people need aid (reliefweb.int). Millions of children are unable to get an education, whether because of the money their parents make, the unavailability of schools, or their gender. Even in the United States, not all children are getting the same education. According to UNESCO, 67.4 million children are currently not in school, 60.7 percent of those kids are girls. As a result, 17 percent of adults are not literate.
On Thanksgiving, I sit at a table groaning under the weight of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, stuffing my face with carbohydrates. Around the world, 795 million other people do not have enough food, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. That is equivalent to 1-of-9 people on our planet.
Statistics show only so much. The fact is, people are hurting. Debt, drug use, suicide, domestic violence, health problems, and poverty affect people in every American community, while people from different countries struggle to complete the paperwork necessary to come here.
This world is in need of so much. Unfortunately, thereís nothing I can do to stop any of the problems I mentioned. As a high school junior, I donít have the ability or resources to teach everyone in the world how to read. I canít deliver three meals a day to every person in need of food.
However, I refuse to lose hope. The world is a beautiful place, with people dedicating so much to helping others. Iíve seen people give time, resources, and support to those in need of a kind word, a place to stay, or help solving a problem. When my English teacher had a surgery, kids from her classes spent hours going to visit her. When my mom or dad has a bad day at work, Iíve seen my sister and brother surprise them by doing all the work around the house. When Iíve been feeling discouraged or depressed, Iíve had friends remind me how much I mean to them, whether itís in person or through a text message; something as seemingly insignificant as that can make my entire day better.
I believe that humans want to help each other. I doubt that one-shot solutions to the worldís problems will ever be found, but I do believe that simple joys are what makes life worth living.
Last Sunday, I collected donations from my school to send to kids in need all over the world. The ministry Operation Christmas Child allows individuals or groups to pack shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies, and personal hygiene items, then send them to children in need.
On Monday, CHOICES hosted an event called Pie and Gratitude. This is an opportunity to recognize the people in our school, as well as guest speakers, grant writers, and other people have helped the program.
Wednesday, National Honor Society members went to the store to buy items for local kids.
These actions may be simple, but they are the actions that improve the lives of people.
A child from Syria or Guatemala may be unable to attend school because they cannot afford school supplies, then receive some from a child in the United States through an Operation Christmas Child box. An individual that feels overlooked and underappreciated may need the little bit of encouragement that a slice of pile and a few generous words can bring. And, for a family that might not otherwise get Christmas presents, a school organization providing toys and clothes is a miracle.
These simple gifts of time and effort are changing the world.