Here in the UK, we don’t really do Thanksgiving. While it does feature on media and TV, it’s not a holiday. We do have to put up with Black Friday however- which feels like a poor swap. But with a majority of my readership in the U.S. and Canada, my feeds and inbox were full of Thanksgiving wishes this November.
Which made me think: in a time when we’re encouraged to be discontent about everything – always wanting more, always dissatisfied (advertising, scarcity mindset), it’s important to reflect on what you are truly thankful for.
Even the most difficult of years have bright spots – positives that you can focus on.
And that’s what I want to do now – here’s my (non exhaustive) list of what I’m thankful in 2017:
What I’m Thankful For in 2017
Clean drinking water and sanitation: Every morning I wake up to running water, and toilets that work. But for billions of people worldwide, this isn’t the case.
Nearly 1 billion don’t have clean water and double that don’t have access to a toilet. We see these things as basics, but for many they’re a luxury or an unknown.
Good health: I’ve spent a good bit of 2017 in hospitals – not for my own sake but visiting others. Most recently it was my own daughter. The last time I was there, something really struck me – there are a lot of sick people. This year, I haven’t been one of them.
The Internet: Yes there are a lot of negatives about the web – porn, gambling and the soul sucking vacuum that social media networks are becoming.
But there are a lot of positives – you can find the answers to just about every question you can imagine, connect with friends in video chat for free as well as shop for anything you like or need.
Living in the country: About a year ago I moved my whole family from a city – population 1 million to a village – population 141. The difference in quality of life for all of us has been amazing.
I walk out of my door and into the most amazing landscape. I see wildlife, horses and happy, relaxed people every day. It’s like being in paradise.
Living in the UK: despite what you might read, the UK is a peaceful place to live. We have low crime rates, beautiful landscapes and history and very few poisonous animals. Extremes of weather are rare and the sea can be reached in a couple of hours from anywhere in the country.
Being a writer: I stopped writing for years – I thought I didn’t have time or have anything to write about. Starting again has been a great decision. Writing is a bit like a compulsion, but one which I love. Having the ability to put my thoughts into words and stories is the true meaning of a gift.
Related to that is:
Publishing my first book: A Father’s Mission was published back in July and I’ve had some great feedback and reviews. I say ‘first’ because I plan to keep writing, sharing my stories and my vision. But don’t make this a one way conversation. Share your stories with me.
Having a loving wife and kids: Getting married was the smartest and best thing I did. Deciding to have kids while we were still young was the second. I love children and being a husband and father is a privilege and gift from Almighty God.
Having enough money: Sure I’ve still got debts. But they’re manageable. I live a very good life. I’m striving for more, but it has a purpose – to create a self-perpetuating system to provide for me and my family for the future.
My faith: Faith is foundational to my life, my family and every activity I’m engaged in. Having no faith or believing that we arrived here by random chance is unimaginable to me.
Connections via TDD: I’ve met so many incredible men, fathers through my work on This Dad Does, it’s hard to list them all. Chats with Craig from Masculine by Design and Mark Baxter are particular highlights.
Many of you email me personally or comment on the blog – I always try to respond (eventually!). When my daughter was sick, I was overwhelmed by the messages and offers for prayers I received. I’m a privileged guy to have been on this journey and I’m grateful for you being there with me.
I could go on and on. But hopefully I’ve made my point. My challenge to you is this:
Take some time to reflect on what you’re thankful for. If you feel like sharing it, leave a comment or send me an email.
P.S. I’m also thankful to the many people who have bought A Father’s Mission (and left positive reviews on Amazon) – you can get it here.