As a child, the idea of "being thankful" was drilled into our heads...."Didn't Christ make ten lepers well....only one went back to say 'thank you'.....where were the other nine?" was a constant mantra in our home.
Thus, this concept has followed me into adulthood. Now that I have reached my 40's I frequently look back on my life and see so MANY things to be grateful for.
To begin with, I was raised by two of the most wonderful parents anywhere......and I am not just saying that because they are mine....but because they provided us with a safe haven while teaching us academically, socially, and religiously. Sure, a lot of nagging, loooong lectures (which bordered on nagging), and spankings ensued.....but they were done with "the big picture" in mind.....a look beyond "they are just children" and into the kind of adults we would be when we grew up.....and often times when my parents wanted to chill but had to put on their "parenting hats" and have a go-around with the youngsters God gave them.
My knowledge of Greek (in written and spoken form) lies at my parent's feet. Instead of taking the time to learn English....my mother saw to it that all her children learned Greek....so that we could communicate with our past as well as deal with our future (she was convinced that our world would go global during our lifetime and that knowledge of another language would be of some benefit)...and so that we could read the Bible "in one of it's original languages".
My understanding of our Church and many of the Cannons comes from my parents. When we lived in Colorado the closest Orthodox Churches (one Greek and one Russian) were 2 hours away--one way. Did that stop my parents? Oh no! Every Sunday we would be packed into the station wagon (a green one--think Chevy Chase's movie Vacation) and off we would go! During Holy Week (where Orthodox Christians spend every evening at church) we could be found there too...a mere trek of 2 hours was an obstacle just waiting to be overcome.
This would influence me in my life when it came to meeting problems....I would just dig my feet in, look the problem straight on, and deal with it.....oftentimes viewing it as something just begging to be overcome.....
My academic achievements also are because of my parents... their confidence in me was stronger than what I had in myself and their constant urging to go beyond high school benefited me in so many, many ways. They both had post-graduate degrees (quite an accomplishment for my mother in WW II Greece), and they so firmly believed that women should have an education (the MAJOR difference in how I was raised and how Toula was raised in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") that they made every possibility available to me. A debt I can never even begin to repay them for.
Finally, their social consciences were yet another driving force in my young life. Charities, sponsored children, the homeless, veterans, lost animals, victims of disasters....were all items discussed during many of our dinners. Oftentimes an item my parents wanted to get for themselves would go by the wayside with the money taken and given to someone "with more needs"....a lesson that left an impressionable mark on my life. My father decided to leave a promising career as a Pathologist and decided to work in our countries V.A. Hospitals in order to bring change and treatment to our veterans. This meant a drastic reduction in pay, but the "ability to live what he tried to teach us".
This ends Part I of my thoughts on Thankfulness....oh yes, there is more....I have lead a very blessed life.....