Thanksgiving. A time when we can gather with family and friends and be thankful for the many blessings we have in our lives. But I worry we are losing sight of what it really means to be thankful. In a generation that demands free stuff and feels they are entitled to whatever they want for simply existing, I fear that we have forgotten what it truly means to be thankful for what we have.
Take Keely Mullen, the Million Student March national organizer, who is protesting for free college and debt forgiveness. This is seriously one of the most cringe-worthy interviews I have ever watched. I felt so embarrassed for her. Seriously, watch the video and you’ll understand why. And, yet, I was so frustrated as I watched her struggle to find any real answers to the basic, logistical questions she was being asked. She feels entitled to have other people (the rich 1% that these poor, gullible kids are lied to about) pay for her college and to pay off the debt that she and others have accumulated in student loans. The third demand these protesters want is a $15/hr minimum wage for those working on college campuses. Unfortunately, the math just doesn’t add up.
Right now, if we were to institute a 100% tax on the rich 1% who is “hoarding” all the wealth, we would get roughly $1 trillion. There is currently about $1.3 trillion in student debt across the U.S. that these protesters want erased. The point? Even if we taxed 100% of the 1%’s wealth, it wouldn’t be enough to cover even one of the three areas these protesters want covered by the wealthy. She says that college systems are “unfair” and that there is “injustice” in the system. She was asked very basic questions like “at what point do you earn enough to be considered the 1%?” She had no answer. “What if the wealthy the leave the country? Who will pay for all this free stuff then?” No answer. “Even taxing the 1% at 100% we wouldn’t have enough to keep Medicare afloat for 3 years. How do you propose we pay for all the new stuff you’re asking for?” No answer. “Countries like Greece have also provided the same benefits that you’re demanding and now they’re going broke. Why do you think it will work here?” No answer. “Do you really think colleges won’t jump at the opportunity to raise the cost of tuition and room/board?” Some lame answer about what would happen in an “ideal” world.
It’s extremely frustrating to see the next generation of young people being as selfish and self-centered as they are. The world doesn’t owe us anything. We’ve confused a “right” with a “privilege.” These students are saying that education is a “right.” No, education is a privilege. When we begin to think that we have a “right” to anything and everything we want, we start going down a slippery slope. Suddenly, there’s no need to appreciate what we’re given because it was “owed” to us to begin with. We don’t have to work for anything or strive to be our best because it will all just be handed to us. We hear this and we’re outraged but are we any different than this entitled generation?
How do we show that we’re thankful? How do we show our appreciation?
We need to set the example. We need to first remember what we are thankful for and then show it! We can’t just talk about it. Take care of what God has blessed you with. From your family, friends, home, job, school, and life! Even if everyone else around you is complaining and talking about what they wish they had, make it a point to be thankful and appreciative for what you have been given.
It’s easy to get caught up in the life we want and forget what we already have. I know it’s cliché but life truly is a gift. We can take this gift and make a difference in the world in which we live or we can waste it by complaining and always wanting what we don’t have. There’s nothing wrong with ambition or striving towards the next goal but when your focus is on what you don’t have rather than what you do have, we run the risk of becoming selfish, self-centered, entitled, spoiled brats.
I know in my life, I have so much to be thankful for. I live in a free country, I have food on my table, a safe home to live in, family and friends who love me, and a loving God Who has never left my side. I have an education (for which I worked extremely hard), a job where I can earn money to pay my bills, and a car that, while not the nicest looking, gets me from Point A to be Point B just fine.
We each have things in our own lives for which we are thankful, but there are things that we can all collectively give thanks for too. Like our military. These brave folks selflessly serve their country and its citizens and put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the freedoms we are privileged to have. Often they aren’t able to be home with their family and friends because of their work and for their sacrifice we should be eternally thankful.
Democracy. I am extremely thankful for democracy. “We the people” can vote to elect the people we choose to run our country instead of just being taken over by some crazy dictator. And while we aren’t always happy with the outcome, we can still find satisfaction in knowing that the citizens chose our leader…even if it was the dumber half of our citizens.
These things just scratch the surface of the things we have to be thankful for. But rather than simply saying we are thankful, we should be showing we are thankful. We should live our lives in a way that our joy and gratitude is evident to all we meet, whether it’s Thanksgiving Day or not.
Thanksgiving is just another day on the calendar if we can’t learn to be thankful for what we have every day of the year. So don’t just say you’re thankful…actually be thankful.
How can you live a thankful life? And no, it does not involve using the hashtag #blessed! Volunteer. Give to others. Put others before yourself. Don’t complain about your job. Don’t lust after what you don’t have. Take care of what you do have. Love those who are in your life.
My high school vice principle had a saying that he would walk around school saying every chance he could. He would say, “Your walk talks, and your talk talks but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” We all thought it was cheesy, and it was, but it was a good reminder that has stuck with me all these years that the way you live your life speaks louder than how you say you live your live.
So what are you thankful for? And more importantly, how will you show it? Tell us in the comments below! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!