Archive for Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks

November 26, 2009


On this special holiday, we think a lot about giving thanks. Feeling gratitude and saying “thank you” is part of that equation, but sometimes actions speak louder than words.

When Gov. Mark Parkinson announced another $259 million in budget cuts on Monday, he included a personal apology to the people who would be hurt by those cuts and an appeal to Kansans who were doing well “to dig deep” and increase their contributions to the charities of their choice.

His message may have caught some Kansans off-guard. His sorrow at the cuts he was announcing seemed genuine. In urging people to step up charitable contributions he essentially was acknowledging that the state was failing to meet its obligations and the only answer was for Kansans to reach out and help one another.

The cuts are bad news for many Kansans, but Parkinson’s plea hits on what should be a fundamental part of giving thanks: giving to others.

The current recession has been hard on many Americans. At the same time, tax revenues are down, and governments are finding it harder to meet the increased demand for unemployment benefits and other social services.

Even so, many Americans who have jobs still can maintain their lifestyle with a little something left over. For that, they certainly should be thankful.

What better way to show their gratitude for their good fortune than to share some of their relative bounty with people who are struggling in this holiday season. Even people who are barely getting by may be able to share some time to help local social service agencies or charitable efforts.

A report in Wednesday’s Journal-World looked at scientific research indicating that people who show gratitude through words or deeds actually are happier, healthier and more willing to return a favor or do one for someone else. As one author pointed out, “You can’t be depressed and grateful at the same time.”

Gratitude is a healthy emotion that apparently grows when it is passed along. This is the perfect time for those of us who are fortunate enough to have time or money to share to put our gratitude into action by helping some of the many people around us who are in need.

It’s a special way of saying thanks and might even bring you a “thank you” in return.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Leslie Swearingen 8 years ago

I agree with you. Giving is rarely one way. We should give thanks if we have something to share with someone else. We should be sharing our love and mercy and compassion as well as money. Give thanks to the Spirit within us.

Scott Drummond 8 years ago

"The current recession has been hard on many Americans."

The editorial fails to acknowledge it is the very policies and agenda being pursued by the Gov. and those who would starve government to pointlessness that has created the hardships being endured by so many.

"In urging people to step up charitable contributions he essentially was acknowledging that the state was failing to meet its obligations and the only answer was for Kansans to reach out and help one another."

Failure indeed. But after several decades of shrinking the middle class and concentrating wealth in the hands of the favored few, how effective will this appeal be? And telling those who have been abused to simply get out there and do more is not the only solution. Cutting revenue to the point of harming citizens is both inept and immoral. Today I give thanks that I have not yet suffered an illness or other misfortune that places my life between these ghouls and the lucre the lust after so ruthlessly.

  • Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve - Peter 5:2

wordgenie8 8 years ago

Gloryhounds need not apply. Please remember the Bible urges us to give alms and do our acts of kindness in secret. Ingratiating people who so need to be needed and are so incredibly desperate to be thanked they offensively target and terrorize and intrude upon and insensitively get up the business of complete strangers are far too much the aggressive cultural norm in Lawrence.

This kind of behavior-- like that of the parents who force their children to eat food that makes them gag because" people in Africa are starving " -- tends to give gratitude a very bad name. Appreciation is in the eye of the beholder--if you are the type of officious, lower-midwestern person who is always saying "just trying to be nice" you are probably trying too hard--- and failing miserably in everyone's eyes but your own. Patronizing, unctuous paternalistic "helping" and "giving" is a backhanded insult to the dignity and personhood of the receiver.

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