I’ll admit it – sometimes I complain. I complain that I have a million papers to correct, that I have to drive my children to all of their many activities, that I have to clean the house, do laundry and make dinner. I complain that nobody appreciates what I do. I’m human.
What puts me in a better frame of mind, though, is not seeing my glass as just something I have to wash, but rather, appreciating that I have something to put into the glass, people to share it with and a nice place to store it. In short, counting my blessings.
Now, some people work to earn a paycheck. Period. I am grateful that my job does allow me to pay my bills and indulge my hobbies, but for me it is so much more than that. I get to read great works of literature, fun stories and poems. I read my students’ words, and gain such insight into their lives, thoughts, opinions and experiences.
I also have the luxury of interacting with fun, intelligent and creative young people all day. They share with me their triumphs, their joys and their successes. Even more, they share with me their defeats, heartbreaks and disappointments. My students can make me proud, annoy me, disappoint me, frustrate me, but they always entertain me – even if I don’t always show it! In a sense, I sometimes feel that I am not a mom to two, but to hundreds.
Of everything I am thankful for, it is my two children I am most grateful for – the biggest blessing of all. My children are healthy. That is something I know I take for granted more than I should, but it is something, upon reflection, that I should thank God for every day.
My children are such a huge responsibility. I want them to grow up with open and loving minds. I want them to be respectful, responsible, involved citizens. I want them to have a strong sense of self-worth, but to know that they are a small part of a larger community, country and world. I want them to be rooted firmly in their beliefs and love the earth, but also to have a strong sense of faith.
Sometimes, my responsibilities as a parent make me forget or fail to realize that my children allow me to be a child again, too. They are my biggest teachers.
They teach me to notice the beauty in small things – the color and texture of a leaf, the fun of splashing through puddles and the wonders of the world. They teach me that it is OK to cry when something makes me sad, to dance when the music moves me and to realize that we all have our own frustrations in life.
It is easy to be grateful for my job and my two healthy children, but there are so many things to be grateful for. Years ago, Ann Landers wrote a column in the paper that has always stuck with me. She wrote how people need to think about their frustrations in different ways.
Rather than complain when your alarm clock goes off, be grateful that you have a job to go to. Rather than complain that you have to make dinner, be grateful that you have food to eat. Rather than complain that you have to clean your house, be grateful that you have shelter and a place to live. Her list went on and on, and showed that, yes, sometimes our frustrations and annoyances are really blessings in disguise.