No. 1093



Each year in our country we observe a day that we call “Thanksgiving,” a day set aside to pause and reflect on the many people, things and blessings for which we should be thankful. For me the list is quite long, but more importantly as we ponder this most important topic, for what are you thankful? Are things going really well for you just now or could they be much better?
It is just human nature to want to be happy and successful, and I truly believe one of the keys to being a truly happy person is to be thankful and even grateful for what we have been given. Just pause here for a moment and consider all the reasons you should be thankful.
We can always look around and see others who have more and still others who have much less. The truth is that we should never compare ourselves to others, because their circumstances are different from ours. It has been said that attitude is gratitude, and the place to begin any day, task, job, journey or chapter in our lives is to first consider what we have going for us. The old Roman orator, literary critic and philosopher Cicero (106-43 BC) once said, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues.”
So again, what do you personally have going for which you can be grateful? Please give this some thought because it could be far more important than you realize. As I work with and observe others, it distresses me to see those people that are ungrateful, especially those who have an attitude of entitlement. They seem to think that everyone else owes them a living and that they should not have to work and earn the rewards they receive. You show me a person who is an “ingrate” (which is to say ungrateful), and I will show you one who is not using their great potential, not only to help themselves but also to help others.
As I look back over my life, I realize the number of days behind me are far greater than those before me. My prayer is that I can use my remaining days to make America an even greater country for those who will come after me, namely our young people, who are America’s real hope. When I was thinking about writing this column, I remembered a poem written by Will Allen Dromgoole titled “The Bridge Builder.” It is one of my favorites and expresses my sentiments so well. Hopefully you will think about the message here as well.
It begins with these words, “An old man traveling a lone highway, came at the evening cold and gray, to a chasm vast and deep and wide, through which was flowing a sullen tide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim, the sullen stream held no fears for him; but he turned when safe on the other side, and built a bridge to span the tide.
“‘Old man’, cried a fellow pilgrim near, ‘You’re wasting your time in building here. Your journey will end with the closing day; you never again will pass this way. You have crossed the chasm deep and wide, why build you this bridge at even-tide?’
“The builder lifted his old gray head: ‘Good friend, in the path I have come,’ he said, ‘there followeth after me today a youth whose feet must pass this way. This stream which has been as naught to me, to that fair-haired youth may pitfall be; he, too, must cross in the twilight dim – good friend, I am building this bridge for him’.”
My friend, I hope that you are using the gifts and talents that God and others have given you. Just remember that it all begins with a grateful heart. Cicero was right; it is the parent of all other virtues.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)