A Pyramid of Support or Thank You Day

By Tom Morgan

I hereby nominate the fifth Sunday as national Thank You Day.

On Thank You Day all of us should call a time-out from bitching. Time out from complaining about job, country, taxes, mates, kids, gas prices and the rest of the list.

I am serious.

Graduation ceremonies cause me to think of this. The grads bathe in the spotlight. They soak up praises for their achievements. And, yes, there is always a line about the parents and maybe grandparents. But when you ask a kid what went on he’ll boast “I graduated.”

Truth is, he was the tip a of pyramid of support. The supporters from below shouldered him gradually toward his graduation.

This is true for all of us in whatever we achieve.

I know a young man who recently graduated. He is delighted to go abroad as an exchange student. He has been accepted by the fine college he yearned for. He won national honors for his debating. His head spun into the clouds with pride for all he had achieved.

He came to earth when I asked him to thank the various people who had helped him directly. The people who took him to the college. The people who volunteered their time to train him in debate. The people who suggested he apply for the exchange program and made certain he did. He had forgotten to even tell them about his successes. So caught up was he in basking in the light from his own reflection.

How much time do we devote to appreciating the people who shaped and pushed and inspired us toward those achievements?

My guess is, not much. We spend far more time patting ourselves on the back.

Our parents. They fed, clothed, nursed, suffered, guided, paid for, listened to us.

Our mentors. They taught us, kicked around our ideas, kept us from going astray.

Our friends. They put up with us, rescued us, shared problems and joys with us.

Our employers. Good or bad, they paid us. They maybe trained us. They maybe contributed to our retirement packages.

Our teachers. They too put up with us and our youthful foolishness. They prodded us through all those awkward years. Some fired our imaginations. Some managed to plow through our ignorance to sow a few patches of knowledge. Some taught us to dream.

So many people sacrificed something in order to benefit us.

So many more were simply kind. In ways small and large, they took time to think about our situation and to give us a leg up.

On Thank You Day we would do well to thank some of those who led us to misfortune. And those who thwarted us and made life difficult for us.

So often the misfortune and difficulties have been the making of us. They have hardened us to withstand such problems in the future. They have strengthened our resolve and sharpened our warning systems so we can avoid more such misfortunes. The misfortunes may have deepened our appreciation of others who find themselves in similar situations.

And finally, on Thank You Day, we should thank our country and the people who have made it what it is. Sure it has faults. Huge faults, according to some of us. But remember, we take a time-out from bitching on Thank You Day.

Our country has provided for our defense. For our education. For our roads. It has encouraged and funded our well-being in countless ways.

I do not suggest we submerge ourselves in soppiness on Thank You Day. We just ought to remind ourselves once in a while that whatever we have achieved, we owe in large measure to others.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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