People who are truly thankful don’t complain; they find a reason to be grateful. I’d like to open this article with a story I read. A SCHOOL TEACHER asked her first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from poor neighborhoods actually had to be thankful for. She reasoned that most of them would no doubt draw pictures of turkeys on tables with lots of other food. She was surprised with the picture that one of the students handed in. It was the picture of a human hand, poorly drawn. But whose hand? The other children tried to guess. One said it was the hand of God because He brings the food to us. Another said it was the hand of a farmer because he raises and grows the food. Finally, when the others were back at their work, the teacher bent over the student’s desk and asked whose hand it was. “Why, it’s your hand, teacher.” Then she recalled that frequently at recess she had taken the student, a scrubby, neglected child, by the hand. She did it with many of the children and never thought much about it. But this student did. You see, she refreshed his spirit and he never forgot it.
Too often our gratitude is dependent upon the circumstances of life. This is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Although we should remember the significance of all our holidays, I believe Thanksgiving is the holiday which should be used for a time of quiet reflection. We would all do well to pause and remember those brave souls who risked their lives to travel to a new and uncharted land in search of freedom. A freedom which oftentimes we often take for granted. I hope that you will gather with your family and friends and take a moment to reflect, remember, and give thanks.
Let us take a moment during this Thanksgiving holiday season to reflect on our lives and on our blessings. As a young city, we have endured highs and lows. Our economy has been steady, although not vibrant, but we are constantly seeking ways to strengthen it more. Many have family members who are serving our country in foreign lands. Many of us have lost loved ones, or have faced other personal crises. And yet, we are blessed to live in a country where we can learn from, and appreciate, the differences which make us unique. We are free to vote or not vote. We have the choice of education for our children. We have some of the finest medical technology in the world available to us.
In America, we have the freedom to travel as we wish, and we have the freedom to worship as we see fit. Additionally, we are privileged to live in West Park, Florida. We are fortunate to have City employees who are committed to providing the best service possible to our citizens. We have excellent schools and teachers who are dedicated to the education of their students and a community filled with caring individuals. People of all races, ages and socioeconomic levels come together annually at the Annual Mary Kendrick Thanksgiving Feed The Needy Feast where we serve a Thanksgiving meal to hundreds.
Our care goes beyond Thanksgiving, with the help of our partnership with Feeding South Florida, where we distribute free produce monthly to help those less fortunate. We grieve with our friends and neighbors over their losses with expressions of sympathy and we rejoice with them in their good times. We also find time to laugh and enjoy community events such as our soon to be held Annual Holiday Toy Giveaway and Christmas tree lighting ceremony. We have many blessings, large and small. The list is endless. Only when we begin to take stock, do we realize just how blessed we truly are.