What Are We Actually Thankful For?


Catherine Jenkins, Writer

Every year in America millions of families gather around a table heaped with food and prepare to stuff themselves before eventually slipping into a food-induced coma. They will awaken hours later, and then some will embark on a crazed shopping spree fueled by a desire to spend as little money as possible while obtaining the most material goods.

However, before the stuffing and shopping can take place, there is one tradition that many people dread: the “I’m thankful for’s.” Sure, there are plenty of things to be grateful for, but when it’s my turn to express that gratitude, I almost always respond with some generic cliche about family and friends or something, never giving it a second thought.

But there really is a lot to appreciate, and one day a year is not sufficient reflection for all the wonderful things in life.

I asked my dad what he was thankful for when he was my age, and he said he was grateful for his chemistry teacher, and everyone who helped him with his science fair project. Mr. Douglas was the best chemistry teacher and he pushed me to enter the science fair which I won first place in engineering. My mom typed the paper and my dad helped build the model. My older sister was the one that helped the most. She was 2 years ahead of me and I benefited from her experience”.

I also asked Gabrielle Morgan, a Bob Jones student, what she was grateful for. She mentioned her sister as well. “She has helped me through every single event in my life, and I would never trade her for the world. From me crying on my bed about someone who broke my heart to me stressing myself out over something stupid and so on. She makes me happy no matter what I’ve been through and she has helped shaped me into the person I am today.”

From what I’ve gathered, people are more grateful for their friends and family than for their things, and this surprised me. My generation is often viewed as spoiled and self-centered, but I think we are just used to more technology, so we don’t appreciate it as much. My dad, a Baby Boomer, agreed. “This is all they have known so there is nothing to compare to. As we get older, we see the differences, but as young people, we see only that the kid next door has something we want, and that is all we have to compare to.”