Thankful - For What and To Whom?
By Dr. George Acquaah
Thanksgiving Day is one of the major and most popular holidays in America. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November of each year. It was first celebrated to give thanks to God and the Native Americans for helping the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower survive the brutal winter. Today, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as a gathering of families to feast on sumptuous meals designed around the turkey. The side attractions are, of course, the traditional Thanksgiving Day Parade and NFL football!
But, the purpose of this conversation is not to teach the history of the event, something you learned in kindergarten. In reminding you of the fact that the original purpose of the celebration was to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general, my question then is: for what or to whom are you thankful or grateful?
I am thankful, first, to God for life! I am thankful for my family, my wife and children. In fact, this weekend, I had a very special reason to be extra thankful. But, for the timely intervention by the cardiologist who discovered that one of the major arteries to my wife's heart was more than 95% blocked, and that she was heading for a major heart-attack any day, this year's Thanksgiving Day would have been different in the Acquaah House. (Just in case you are wondering, she is at home recovering from the corrective medical procedure that was successfully performed last Friday). I am thankful for friends, colleagues and other loved ones at Bowie and elsewhere. Of course, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve at Bowie State University! These are a few of the things for which I am thankful.
What about you? What are you thankful for? You may be thankful for some of the same things for which I am thankful. As a student, you may be thankful for the opportunity to attend college and to prepare for life. Do not forget to thank those who support you by way of paying your tuition fees among other expenses. And, do not forget to thank your teachers, colleagues, staff and administrators at BSU who, together, play roles in your education. Don't forget the praying grandma!
Let us go back to the traditional festivities of the day. By all means enjoy the turkey and the trimmings. Enjoy the family and friends and be good company. Do not be guilty you have plenty to eat, rather be thankful. One way of showing gratitude is to pay attention to the plight of those who are less fortunate amongst us! You don't have to look too far to find such people. They could be right in your backyard - on the streets, in homeless shelters, and yes even on campus here at BSU. There are students who cannot travel home for the holiday, such as International Scholars. There are some whose hearts are heavy because of recent challenges and unexpected turn of events in their lives. You may be the only one who can bring a smile upon their faces, so do not miss an opportunity to brighten the day of someone God sends your way.
The lyrics of a popular song goes like this: "If I can help somebody, as I pass along; If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song; If I can do my duty, as the Master thought; then, my living shall not be vain!" Until next time, this is Dr. G saying, travel safely, enjoy yourself responsibly, and return to campus with a renewed sense of purpose, to pursue excellence.