Bright Idea: The Gift of Gratitude

Bright Ideas: Tips for Positive Thinking and Personal Growth

Well folks, it’s that time of year again.  We’ve ridden the rollercoaster we now call “2020” and have ended up back in familiar territory – Holiday Season.  While many of us may be celebrating a little differently this year, the foundation of the upcoming holiday remains.  The reminders to be thankful, joyous and loving glare at us from grocery store shelves.  We get it, Hallmark.  We’re about as merry as the year will allow us to be.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we find ourselves asking our little ones what they are thankful for and teaching them the importance of gratitude.  Do any of you have a moment, a story, a person, or even a thing that will live in your soul, that will light up your world when everything is dark?  That will remind you of the gift of gratitude, kindness and even peace?  Well, I do… and I’d like to share it with you.

July 6, 2018 my father unexpectedly left this earth.  May God rest his magnificent soul.   In his departure, he left behind a trail of devastation, shock and dismay.  How? What?  Why….? A few weeks later, I received my assignment with ALC for the school year.  I remember calling Kelly VanSant, my predecessor, and saying “Kelly, I don’t know if I can do this, but I will try.”  She gently reminded me of the support of my ALC family and encouraged me to keep going, in her magical Kelly way.

So – I kept going.  I called the family, scheduled my home visit, put on my big girl pants and just kept going.  I arrived at the house and was almost knocked over by the amount of joy and love beaming from the front door as it opened.  The sounds of laughter, joy, life oozed from this house.  This house, this joyful house, was the house of the Shreiber Family.  I sat down and I listened.  I listened to a mother, Jeannette, so full of hope and love for ALL of her children she could hardly contain it into one sentence.  And then, I met Tommy (a.k.a. the love of my life).

Without intending to or even realizing, over the course of the school year, Tommy Shreiber changed my life completely.  You see, Tommy has this innate gift, a 6th sense, a superpower, to sense emotions in others.  It’s funny, I try to think of ways to describe Tommy and am often left speechless.  There are few words in the English language fit to explain him.  Tommy loves unconditionally. Tommy reminded us all daily the importance of laughter.  To be grateful for those tiny, silly moments in life that seem insignificant but are, in fact, priceless.  I dare a brave soul to tell him he can’t do something, he specializes in proving those people wrong.  Tommy is strength.  Tommy is stubborn – but in a way that reminds us all to stop and listen.  Be patient.  Be kind.  Tommy instilled the gift of gratitude in me.  I am grateful for the time I was blessed with my Dad.  I am thankful for all of the incredible children I have encountered.  I am humbled by their strength to overcome a world who has doubted them.  Thank you Shreiber Family, for giving me the priceless gift of meeting you.  Thank you, Tommy, for just being unapologetically you.  May you go on to change endless more lives for the better.

So… who reminds you to be thankful?  Go and tell them, I bet they are thankful for you, too.

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