As I have stated in the past holidays were always important in my childhood home, and my mother would always pull out all the stops to ensure that they were memorable and that we took time to celebrate the importance of family and love. On the ‘federal’ holidays my dad always tried to convey the importance of every life that was lived or lost for our country’s benefit.
My parents always drove home the importance of being aware of the rest of the world. Education was key, they wanted me to know that there was more in the world then what was just outside my door. I was taught that as a citizen it was my responsibility to stay informed of current events for our state, country, and the world; the news was used as a teaching tool to develop empathy for others and of how life may be for them. By far this is the best thing that I learned from my parents, it is a lesson that I use daily.We are all reminded to live life to the fullest because you never know when it will be your last but how do you live in a constant state of fear? When I hear fireworks, gun shots, or screaming I am reminded that there are countries that are currently war torn and families that are being caught up in the crossfire. I try to imagine how stressful it must be to try to raise a family during these terrifying times; how do you keep things routine when every minute you have together is potentially fatal? I am so thankful that I can give my child a ‘care free’ childhood similar to the one my parents worked so hard to maintain.
When going to the grocery, I prefer to go alone, not only to save me from the constant ‘can I have’s’ and ‘I never get’s’ but to truly use this time to be appreciative. As I walk down countless aisles of food and supplies I am reminded that there are villages of people that do not even have a corner store for miles; and the stores they have don’t have an aisle just for shampoo. Occasionally walking the aisles of stores can bring my mood down, it’s a bit daunting when you see all the things that you cannot buy for your family. Then I will see a cart that is barely filled and over hear parents discuss skipping lunch for the week so they can buy the 2 gallons of milk their children need for breakfast. I realize while I may not be able to buy my family everything they want; I CAN feed them, put clothes on their backs, and buy their medicine.
We have a way of life that most people don’t get to enjoy and it is hard to imagine a life unlike your own. I implore you though to stop and think every time you fill your cart or watch fireworks that somewhere not so far from here, someone lives a much more stressful existence.