Joy at Thanksgiving. Fat chance of that, thought third grade teacher Miss Becker. She was far from feeling it. She had to finish this lesson on money and the economy before the excited children sprinted off to enjoy the holiday break.
As she noticed the permanently scuffed wooden floors, desks leftover from days when students dipped pens and pigtails in ink, and the stubborn windows that refused to open properly during the summer or close completely during the winter, she sighed.
It would be nice to work in a better neighborhood and more modern school. Maybe next year.
But when her class wrote out their thanks, many wrote, “You are my favorite teacher, Miss. Becker. I love you!” and “Thanks for being our teacher. You are so nice!”
That’s music to a teacher’s ears. Miss Becker smiled and was thankful. I have a job. It wasn’t easy. But the children here are precious.
Another bonus of this old school was that the children all had jackets and sweaters. In poorer schools, the students had few. These children bundled in the warm garments during the winter from the time they left home until they stepped in the front door again. All had jackets and sweaters.
As Mrs. Becker scanned the notes of thanks on the bulletin board, she choked down tears. One wee girl had written, “I’m thankful for my Grandma and Grandpa. They love me.” That was from a child whose abusive parents abandoned her, leaving grandparents to raise her from the time she was two.
With blustery winds gusting outside, all the little ones in this class burst with smiles and joy. Thanksgiving break was here! The paper turkeys decorated the walls with red, yellow and orange tail feathers, a reminder of the food, family and fun ahead!
“I’m thankful for my mom and dad and sometimes my baby brother.” Another wrote.
Miss Becker continued to pull the children’s attention back to finish her lesson, “Most people are not rich and they are not poor. They are in the middle. I am guessing that most of your families have a Ford or a Chevy like I do. Does anyone here have a Cadillac or a Lincoln?
Penny’s hand went up. “It’s a Lincoln. A purple one.”
“Purple? Lincolns are usually black, beige or white. How did you get a purple one?”
“It was white and all scruffy and my dad fixed it up. It runs good. A couple of people gave Dad some paint, like grey and red, and he mixed it all together and got purple. It’s the only purple one I’ve ever seen! I’m thankful we get to ride to my grandparent’s house in the purple Lincoln for Thanksgiving!”
Mrs. Becker reflected on the leaky windows, cold and scuffed up classroom, and Penny’s purple Lincoln.
She realized as the children did that with love and gratitude, everything is colored in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is an attitude that can infuse each day of the entire year. Beginning a day with gratitude and thanks to God is a healthy habit mentally and spiritually.
Jesus himself teaches the pattern of prayer of praise and thanksgiving with what is commonly called, “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:10 [NIV].
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
The prayer begins with praise, honor and thanksgiving for the King of Kings! Just as the children in this classroom experienced, God had provided them day by day with coats, food, care, and love, as he does us.
Life can be an adventure wrapped up in an attitude love and thanksgiving ~ even if you don’t drive a purple Lincoln. Give thanks each day!
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and her recent Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now in print and e-book on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords. She is author of several other books, including award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]