A Dad’s Thanksgiving

Photo by Diliara Garifullina on Unsplash

My dad once said that when I was in grade school through high school, he was kinda jealous about the education I was getting that he’d never had a chance for.

And in that moment, something clicked that I’d never before realized: I had that opportunity exactly because never once in my childhood did it cross my mind that food, clothing, and shelter weren’t a guarantee. Dad never complained about the backbreaking labor that supplied those things, so to me they felt as natural as the air I breathed.

It wasn’t until I became a husband and father myself, through some heartbreakingly difficult years, working so that my own children were sheltered, clothed, and fed, that I realized what he’d done, and the example he set.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US, and most of us take so much for granted. Things that aren’t actually guaranteed, but that feel as givens, like the air we breathe.

I think there’s a pretty obvious moral here. But it’s one I didn’t really get until that conversation with Dad, so I’m going to state it anyway: Most of us, no matter how modest our means, are wealthy compared to so many of our fellow citizens, to say nothing of the rest of the world. The best way to give thanks for our abundance is to share. And to honor all of the fathers, mothers, veterans, laborers, emergency workers, and educators who allow us that abundance.

Here’s to my dad, today on Thanksgiving. You set an example that led me to unthinkingly assume that hard work to provide for others is only natural. I give you thanks for that.

And to Jennifer, for giving me unthinking confidence in a marriage. And to Christine, Kate, Candace, and Karalyn for all the time we’ve spent together. You gals have taught me many, many things.

Now to celebrate the abundance that allows me to spare a turkey. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

 

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