Giving thanks, every day

By The Herald Editorial Board

One of the great things about the upcoming holiday, Thanksgiving, is that its main purpose — giving thanks — is good to do every day, unlike, say, eating your daily mountain of mashed potatoes and gravy. Gratitude even has scientifically proven benefits, including improving one’s physical and psychological health, and enhancing empathy. Gratitude helps us stay strong and grounded when the going gets tough.

A short list of things for which we give thanks:

The roofs over our heads, and the means to stay sheltered.

All the influential, unsung role models in our homes, schools, churches, civic groups and workplaces who, by their example, inspire not only our young people, but all people.

Free speech and a free press.

The individuals, young and old, and groups who look out for the elderly, the isolated and the vulnerable.

The individuals and groups who care for countless numbers unwanted and abandoned animals.

Everyone who works to protect the environment — every act, big and small.

The innovative young people who dream up new solutions to old problems and otherwise remind us the future is in good hands.

The students who cheerfully collect food and do other good works for the less fortunate.

Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, with its mountains, water and trees. The eagles, whales and salmon. The beauty and the bounty.

The generosity of local tribes, churches and businesses to help charities, schools and communities.

The families and individuals who so very generously donate private land for parks and open space; foundations, groups and individuals who work to preserve the outdoors for all us, from pocket parks to shoreline and beach access.

The doctors, dentists and other professionals who donate time and expertise to help those without access to health care, and other vital services.

The men and women who volunteer to serve our country in the military.

The people of all ages who serve our country, and others, through programs like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.

All the teachers, counselors and staff at our schools who do so much to act as social workers to help homeless or otherwise troubled children and families in our midst.

People who practice Road Compassion out there on the mean streets (and freeways.)

Friendly and helpful neighbors, kind and generous strangers.

The knowledge that we can, and do, help each other when we put our hearts and minds into a united effort.

All the people who demonstrate, with their day to day kindness, that we really are in this together.

Happy Thanksgiving. Every day.

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