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Nov 6, 2013

30 days of thanks: my parents

When I started this 30 days of thanks series, I thought that it would be hard to to find things to write about. Not because I don't have a lot to be thankful for, but because I find it hard to sometimes put your emotions and true feelings down for the world to see and that's what giving thanks is all about.

It's so easy to sit back and say, I am thankful for "X", "Y" and "Z" especially when it comes to the obvious like family, friends, a warm bed, siblings, etc. You have to understand why you are thankful for someone or something in order to fully appreciate what you have in life. We are taught at a young age to be thankful for friends, family and good influences in our lives. However, it's so easy to take them for granted. This month I have really pushed myself to sit back and think about why am thankful for the things that bring joy in my life.

Yesterday, I noticed a Facebook status of someone mocking the 30 day of thanks Facebook challenge that I noticed a lot of my friends and family members are doing everyday with a new status. That made me sad because that person doesn't truly grasp the whole idea.

Everyday is a new day and with each new day, you find new reasons to be thankful for something specific in your life. You might be thankful for your parents because they clothed, fed you, put you through school and provided a roof over your head. That's a given. But what else have they brought into your life? Clothes, food, school and a roof are all physical, Earthly items.

After celebrating my mom's birthday last night with my parents, I have been thinking a lot this morning about how blessed my brother and I really are to have such loving, responsible parents with some of the best morals and values I've come across. Not every child has that in their life and I've always taken that for granted. I know that no matter where life takes me, my parents will always be there and that helps me sleep so much better at night.

Growing up, I use to get upset with them because I always felt like I wasn't allowed to do or have some of the things "everyone else" was getting or doing. My parents always said "Well, we are not like everyone else." My brother and I were taught at a young age that if you want something, you work for it. They always rewarded us for our hard work.

I use to think my parents were strict. Things like taking my shoes off when I came into the house, putting my napkin in my lap, not taking food in the living room, turning off the lights in the barn and house when leaving, saving money, going to bed at a decent time, cleaning my bathroom every week, checking my tire pressures and fluid levels in my car all use to annoy me to the moon and back. Every time I received the same old lecture, I would disrespect the reasoning behind those habits they wanted me to develop more and more. Now that I have my own house and my own vehicles that I have paid for with my money, I have applied those "annoying" habits they wanted me to develop into my own life and I have reaped the rewards.

My parents taught me what to look for in a friend and what to look for while dating. They taught me the value of a dollar. They taught me how to love and appreciate animals. They taught me how to respect my elders. They taught me that life isn't always going to be fun and games and work isn't always going to be easy. They may think I wasn't listening back then but I was.

I've also learned from my parents that you don't have to be good at one thing. You don't have to to settle. Both of my parents are very talented and have interests and hobbies all over the place. They have played many roles in life and they wear a lot of hats. They have taught me how to be a well-rounded person. They have taught me that you can be whoever you want to be in life. I've watched them dabble in different projects and hobbies. They take the bull by the horns and run with what life throws at them. They don't give up because something is hard. They don't depend on other people to tell or show them how to do soemthing. They just.... do it.

I am not perfect by any means. I have my quirks and bad habits. However, I believe that I am a better, more well-rounded person because of my parents. We are not a sappy family full of hugs and I love you's but I definitely think the mutual respect that we all have for each other is there. You can hug a child and buy them things all you want, but you also need to teach them the life lessons they need to become a successful and responsible adult. Those lessons are just as important as food, shelter and clothing.

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