Thanksgiving- A holiday about how we should be

by Mr. Sheehy

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and it is one of my favorite holidays because it is one of the rare times our culture intentionally celebrates selflessness. Stop, see your family, and be thankful. I love gratitude, and I’m going to take a moment to be grateful for the most important things.

I’m thankful that people are better than I often give them credit for being (and I like to think I give them a lot of credit). The other day my daughter had a clump of toilet paper in her hand and was in the bathroom saying she needed to get it wet. It didn’t look promising to me, so I explained to her that she didn’t need it to be wet – it was fine how it was. She persisted, however, climbing onto the toilet next to me in the bathroom, where I was standing at the sink, so I asked why she needed it. “Ellen needs to wipe the wall,” she answered as she fiddled with the handle to the plunger.

“No,” I reaffirmed, confident after seeing her attention towards the plunger that her need for the wet toilet paper was not one I’d appreciate. “And we need to leave the plunger alone. It’s dirty.” This time, she accepted my answer and walked out of the bathroom.

Maybe two minutes later I walked into the kitchen, where my daughter was wiping the drawer beneath the counter with the crumpled toilet paper. She cleaned it of the white spot of flour that had stuck to it when my wife had made bread for dinner. After finishing with that spot, she moved to the next, “wiping the wall” just like she had said she had wanted to do. Oh, how my heart swelled at that moment – with pride for her and shame for me, all at once. And then I did the wonderfully natural, humbling thing: I apologized, and apologized, and apologized again. Thank you, Ellen, for being more wonderful than I realize.

 

I’m thankful that part of my job is to build relationships with people, connecting with students and generally having lots of fun with them. Diversions like my funnies page are therefore more than just silliness – they’re relationship builders. I like to call it Tom Foolery, justified.

I’m thankful that one day amost 10 years ago I decided a major in communications was ridiculous and switched to a major in English. I get to teach great literature to kids, introducing them to Steinbeck and Hemingway for the first time. Yeah, my life is rough.

I’m thankful for interesting technology that provides me with a creative outlet where I can publish my writing and ideas, and I’m even more grateful that I don’ t have the pressure of an audience, because, for now, today, it keeps the pursuit empty of vanity.

I’m thankful for the plenty I enjoy – that right now, on my desk in a ziplock bag, I have a piece of homemade bread leftover from yesterday’s lunch, and that I can munch on it with my Guatemalan coffee in a heated room.

I might add that I am hopeful that as my salary inches up, I will share my plenty sacraficially. May we who can afford time reading blogs realize what it is to be in need. And may each of us this weekend give another person one more reason to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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