Thanksgiving 2015: 2+0+1+5 = 8 Things I'm Thankful For
November 26, 2015
Thanksgiving: a time when families come together and take a moment to realize how blessed they are. People's hearts are filled with gratitude and appreciation and a love for one another while their stomachs are filled with platefuls of delicious food.
Today, I want to share with you what I am thankful for. Some of these are cliches, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Instead, I find it wonderful that enough people are thankful for something that is so commonplace and taken for granted. The year was 2015, so I thought it was appropriate to list 8 things as 2+0+1+5=8.
The first thing that I am thankful for is family. My mom, dad, and brother have always been supportive, encouraging, and influential in everything that I have done.
My mom has always been one of my greatest role models. She's smart, funny, cultured, and cool. She's always been there to talk with even when she isn't too familiar with the subject (which is very rare; she's really smart). She's the one I (almost) always consult with before making a big decision. She was there helping me achieve my Eagle Rank, she was there helping me start Philanthropy Kids, she was there helping me make a difference. She was there to help me become a better me. Thank you mom.
My dad has always been the family member who was the proudest of me. Every time I overhear a conversation that he's having with someone, he is talking about something I did. In Boy Scouts, my dad was the one who would bear the coldest, wettest, most intensive campouts just so he could be there with me on the other side. My dad has always believed in my ability to achieve greatness, and as long as his faith in my performance is there and as strong as it is, I can do anything. Thank you dad.
I always say that if I can't be as smart as my mom, at least make me as smart as Dave. My brother is one of the most inspiring characters in my life. His passion to learn some of the hardest and most challenges subjects and then teach others that subject is something that I admire in a person. His diligence and ability to get something done is something that I want to gain from him. He has started to accomplish so much and I couldn't be any prouder of him. Thank you Dave.
The second thing I am thankful for are the Dallas Cowboys for reminding me that Dallas can't be the best city for everything. Thank you for helping me realizing that perfection is unattainable, but if you have enough hope, maybe something will happen (not for them this season after that loss tonight).
The third thing that I'm thankful for are the relationships that I have been able to create with the people who I meet. I was taught from a very young age by parents, nannies, and teachers that caring for others and realizing that everyone has meaning and purpose is one of the most important things I could do as a human being. My life has been an journey of circumstances that add names, numbers, and email addresses to my contact list. Because I have been able to maintain the relationships with so many people and understand who they are as individuals rather than a homogeneous "society", I have gained, mentors, friends, brothers, sisters, and even students. I've met these characters at daycare, at school, through sports, at community events, in the neighborhood, and on airplanes or buses. Most of the time, the meetings were fortuitous, but it still happened. I have people who care about me and I have people whom I care deeply for. I'm so thankful for that.
The fourth thing that I am thankful for is a person who has helped me define my life. He is Bob Hopkins. He introduced me to philanthropy, gave the motivation to pursue it, and helped me find my purpose. He has always been wishing for my best and has mentored me and advised me whenever I needed his help. He is a pillar in the Dallas community and a pillar in my life.
The fifth thing that I'm thankful for are all of the teachers who have not only given me the knowledge that help me solve really hard crossword puzzles, but also given me the confidence to be proud about my intelligence and realize that "it's cool to be smart". I have developed a hunger for knowledge that at times feels insatiable. My teachers have given me opportunities to go out of my comfort zone and learn something that I had never even thought about engrossing myself in. My teachers have helped me relate to people better by having me collaborate with people who know significantly more or significantly less about a certain subject in hopes that I will either learn something remarkable or teach something remarkably. I love thinking, especially about how grateful I am for my teachers.
The sixth thing that I'm thankful for are the failures that I've faced. They have helped me learn more about other people and about myself. While I always reflect much of these incidents and I feel bad, I understand that it is in the past and the only option I have is to grow and move on. These failures range from times I've hurt someone's feelings to a business decisions gone awry. And now, I can tell some really cool stories about these failures and guise them as "advice". These failures have allowed to become a type of mentor. I am stronger because of my failures. I am thankful for my failures.
The seventh thing that I'm thankful for are grilled cheese sandwiches. Because dipping anything else in tomato soup when you're sick is just ridiculous. Also, because my mom makes the best ones. Thank you grilled cheese for reminding me that you don't have to be extravagant to be important.
The eighth thing that I'm thankful for is community. It's hard to describe in words, but I just love seeing people interact with each other. I like to see people becoming closer with one another and begin sharing life stories. I love seeing people care for their fellow man. I really like how many good people there are and how willing the usually are to stand up to the bad people. I really like how people come together an celebrate whatever it may be with friends and family. There's a warmth in a community that is driven by love even when the temperature starts to drop. Maybe that's why the holiday season just feels so good.
The holidays are the time when everyone gets closer to their neighbors, their families and their friends. Build the community and be sure to spread the joy.