Jennifer: Damien, what are you grateful for this year?
Damien: (smile) I don’t know.
Jennifer: Do you know what it means to be grateful?
Damien: (Shakes head) Let’s search it up.
Jennifer: (Pull out her phone and Google the meaning of grateful and hands Damien her phone)
Jennifer: Do you know what it means to be grateful now?
Here’s a quick clip of what Damien & I are grateful for.
November is one of my favorite months because it’s a time I can count my blessing & give back to my community. To be able to lend a helping hand makes me very happy & grateful for everything. As a child Thanksgiving was about bonding with family over a delicious meal at Yeh’s (grandmother) house & really appreciating everyone & everything we were blessed with that year.
Growing up my mother used to tell my siblings & I stories about the Khmer Rouge War, a Cambodian genocide stated by Pol Pot that killed millions of Cambodians. My mother knew firsthand what it felt like to have everything in one day & then in a blink of an eye nothing but dead bodies, bloodshed, & explosive land mines. My mother is a very hard worker who strives to get everything we wanted because she did not want us to be deprived of anything. Every time we received a gift from her, we would also get a survival story to serve as a reminder of how hard she had to work for our gifts. Each time I heard a story it made me appreciated my mother even more & realized that I can’t always get what I want, but had to make the best of what I had. Reflecting back on my childhood my siblings & I always used our imagination to have the best adventures such as building forts from the couches & tables. We always let our imagination fuel our playtime.
The feeling of giving back is an incredible feeling to me & it warms my heart. When you really do something because you want to & not because you are told, it feels so much better. The other day I went shopping at Target & brought a handful of children’s hats & gloves for donations. As I removed the price tag Damien asked which one is mine. I told him none because I bought them as donations for little children in local shelters. I explained to him how he was lucky to have aunts & uncles to buy him nice new ones. But some children don’t have aunts & uncles or anyone to buy it for them, so I wanted to buy them some. Damien nods his head & asked can one of them be from me? I smiled & said sure thing!
I am really proud of Damien because he was mindful of what he already had & wanted to help other children as well. The importance of being grateful for me is to really understand & appreciated all the meanings, hardships & love behind it all. It shouldn’t take Thanksgiving for us to count our blessing because I believe everyone have something to be thankful for everyday weather its noticeable or not. I know at times it can be hard to be thankful especially when we take most things for granted & don’t realized it until it’s gone. Right before I go to bed I like to lay in the quietness, then take a deep breath, & reflect back on the day by thanking God for everything.
I was given a One Good Deed Day journal from my good friend Amna & which I will continue to use this month. For the rest of November, it will be my appreciation month where every day I will give back in some form. I ask you to join me & make it your appreciation month as well.
Here are some ideas to give back and show appreciation:
- Volunteer your time at a food bank, local kitchen soup or nursing home.
- Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter with little children or Boys & Girls Club
- Make a monetary donation to your local shelter or charity
- Send thank you notes to someone you really valued or just met
- Ask your elderly neighbor if he/she needs helps with anything
- Start a canned or clothing drive
- Smile to people & give them a compliment
Take a moment every day to reflect on everything & thanking God for something you are grateful for. Do a good deed everyday whether it is big or small like feeding quarters in someone’s meter. For every deed you do it will help someone & make them will appreciate the kind people that exist in our cruel world. Do the deed with love & it will have much more meaning to you.
Remember kindness is contagious.