Giving Thanks

Every. Day.

For a school assignment just before Thanksgiving, our youngest son Jordan had to make a list of the things he is thankful for.

Number one on the list? “Dad”.

He was super excited to show it to me, and had a big grin on his face. Of course, he’s always grinning. I’ve never seen a kid who smiles so much. A big, goofy, blonde-headed, dirty-faced, 6-year-old-boy grin, 24×7. It’s infectious, and everybody likes him because of it.

Just one more reason that I love the little guy. He smiles all the time, and squeals like a stuck pig when I tickle him. He loves football, and even reads point spreads in the newspaper. And now, he puts me as Number One on his list.

Of course, next time, I could fall to third, after his dog and LT. But I can live with that. Who can compete with LT, now, really?

It’s easy to lose track of what’s important in life. I do it myself, multiple times a day. But then my kids or my wife say something, or do something, to remind me just how beautiful life really is. And thank God for them, and for that, because otherwise I’d probably stress myself to the breaking point over stupid things that really don’t matter.

We all know that kids need their parents. I’m of the opinion that parents often need their kids, too. To push them to become better people, better Moms and Dads, better brothers and sisters. And really, who couldn’t use some help in that department?

I don’t often write much about family or spirituality any more. But I don’t think about it any less.

And especially now, after Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was laid to rest Monday.

I didn’t know much about him, but Sean Taylor sure did impress a lot of people in his 24 years. When a whole bunch of people talk about how open and fun-loving and humble you are, there’s got to be something good there.

Jon Saraceno of USA Today has a nice summation of the proceedings: “At Taylor funeral, a public goodbye for a private man”.

The particular tragedy here, it seems, is that Taylor was a bit on the wild side until he became a father to his little girl, now just 18 months old. She must now grow up without him.

Everybody that knew Taylor said that she transformed his life. It’s funny, how a little tiny baby can have so much power over us “grown ups”.

Yet that won’t help her much, when her father isn’t there to see her first day of kindergarten, or graduate high school.

Sean Taylor’s friends and family, everybody except his own child, his little girl, the one who changed his life, at least they have their memories of him to take with them into the future. She’ll have to grow up with none of that.

There’s something cruel and senseless about that. But it happens, and kids survive it. Or they can survive it, if they have the right attitudes and support from their loved ones.

I know Thanksgiving is over, but I try to give thanks every day. Because of things like this.

Thank God for my wife and kids, who help keep me centered and honest, and who teach me every day what it means to be humbled by something greater than the Self.

I can not imagine life without them.

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