Giving Thanks

I can remember my parents saying to me, “Stop being ungrateful!” It was a command and an admonishment that always left me irate and confused. In my head, I was grateful. I thought that I appreciated them and the things that I had, so I did not understand their frustration. I knew that I was grateful. So, how could they tell me what I was or was not? After all, they were not inside of my head. I laugh just thinking about it. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to realize what they meant. 

Being grateful is not just a state of mind. It is not sufficient to just internally acknowledge your gratitude. Being grateful requires action. It means not only being aware of what you have, but being aware of what others don’t have, being able to sympathize and above all else empathize with them. It means working hard in everything that you do, to show that you are grateful for the opportunity. It means remembering, “Who packed your Parachute.” It means acknowledging the grace and compassion that has been extended to you and paying it forward. It means working to ensure that others have the same opportunities that you have had and more. It means not being too busy to say, “please,” “thank you,” “yes ma’am,” or “no sir.”   

On this Thanksgiving, like everyone else, I will reflect on the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. But there is one more element to giving thanks that I would like to incorporate. Each day, I pray that my actions reflect my gratitude-that I show my thanks, through giving to others. That my words inspire, comfort or encourage at least one person. And that I find the lesson and beauty in every challenge.  

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011


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