For Release November 24, 1998

Time to Give Thanks, All Year Long

by Chuck Otte, County Extension Agent

This is Thanksgiving week. It’s easy to see that what with all the advertisements and special television programs and all that’s been in the press. It’s easy to see that it’s Thanksgiving, but it seems that a lot of folks overlook why we have Thanksgiving. I’m sure that some of you readers get tired of me talking about Thanksgiving year after year. Over the years I’ve talked about the first Thanksgiving, I’ve talked about the "all-American" foods that we have at Thanksgiving, I’ve talked about why I’m thankful each year and I’ve talked about why we all should be thankful. Yet in spite of all of this, I seem to hear an awful lot of unthankful people for 364 days out of the year.

Thanksgiving is one day that we set aside to give thanks. And if most of us are lucky we’ll find a few moments in between the rushing around, and the food preparation and the eating and the football game or the Thanksgiving Day hunt or the road time to actually think for a few moments about what we’re thankful for. We’ll reflect for a few moments and then go right back to our hectic schedule, possibly not giving thankfulness a second thought.

It’s okay to take one day out of the year and formally acknowledge what we are thankful for, but it’s a whole different story to be thankful all year round. What I always seem to hear is the negativity. This isn’t fair, that isn’t right, they always get better treatment, the world is raining on my parade and no one else's! To quote briefly from a song of a few years ago, "Get over it!"

Here we sit, in a great community, in a wonderful state, in the only country I would want to live in, and yet all some people can do is complain. All I hear from some of these folks is what’s wrong, never what’s right or what they are going to do about it, but what’s wrong and why it’s wrong and why somewhere else is better. It’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too wet, it’s too dry, it’s too this or too that and I’m too sick and tired of it to stay quiet any longer!

Regardless of what you may think, life very equally throws a lot of stuff at everybody. The difference between what two people do, is how they deal with the ups and downs. You can choose to be in control of your life and the situations that occur in your life OR you can choose to be a victim and let the circumstances control you. I wake up every morning and try like heck to be in control and not be a victim. I’m thankful that I live in a country, state and community that allows me to express my opinion and everyone else too. In the global picture we are in the minority. Everyone complains about the weather extremes, but I’m thankful for that too. The changes in our weather help prevent a whole lot of problems that most people never think about.

Are you going to go hungry this Thanksgiving? When was the last time you went hungry? Yet we take all of our food for granted and don’t even think twice about the people around the world, in the United States, in Kansas even in our own community that do go hungry. We should be thankful and work towards eliminating hunger, gosh knows there’s enough food being produced.

It’s easy to get up every morning and start the day fretting about all that needs to be done. Then before you know it you’re going to bed already thinking about tomorrow and not once during the day did you stop to be thankful for everything you have to be thankful for. So this Thanksgiving spend a little time by yourself or with your spouse and your family. Turn off the television, put the papers down, power down the computer and the electronic games. Sit and think or talk about all that you have and how fortunate you are. Then do the same thing the day after Thanksgiving and the day after that and start looking to see where a positive word and a positive action could improve someone else's life as well. You’ll feel better and the community, the country and the world will be better for it. All because you started taking a little more time to be a little more thankful. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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