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In my life I have been given many opportunities to be grateful. I am grateful for all that I have been given, for others in my life, for opportunities we have been given, for the world we live in, and everything else that exists. Being thankful for everything is a principle I have been taught from a young age thanks to my Catholic upbringing. I have a lot to be thankful for: my parents providing me food, shelter, and love, a great education, the opportunity to partake in activities such as student council and theatre, friends who care about me, and a younger sister to experience life with, among everything else.

As a young child my parents would always remind me, “Don’t forget to say thank you!”  It is an important part of life: if someone gives you something or does something for you, you always should be grateful. Saying “thank you” soon became more of a force of habit than something I actually felt, and I continued with this mindset through much of my younger childhood: a meaningless string of please and thank you’s. It wasn’t until later, when I matured, that I realized the true meaning behind these words: the expression of gratitude for an unexpected (or expected) act of kindness.

We should all take a moment to remember the true meaning of a thank you. Additionally, we should pause to consider the power of a simple thank you. In today’s fast-moving “it’s all about me” society, gratitude for others can often be lost in the hunt for personal gain. A simple “thank you” or any token of gratitude can make a person and their work feel validated and valued. The sacrifice of others’ hard work, time, and money has allowed me to receive a great education and succeed in life. All of the opportunities I have been given deserve a tremendous amount of gratitude for those who have given me the means to accomplish anything. The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett touches on the virtue of gratitude among others, and states the necessity of learning these virtues in one’s earlier years: “…the formation of character and the teaching of moral literacy come first, in the early years…” (p. 13). This shows that we should remember to teach our children gratitude- it will carry with them far in their life, and remind them of all they have to be thankful for.

-Parker

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