A close up of an ink pen and a pink flower

By Anne Schober, Youth Leadership Advocate

On the first day of each month, before my feet hit the floor, I say “rabbit, rabbit”.  It is a habit. It is also a family tradition which my mother passed on to me when I was a little girl. As the superstition states, you must say those words upon waking and you will have good luck for the month ahead.  As I awoke on the first day of November, uttering those magical words, I knew that my month ahead would be magical.

November is a little different from the other eleven months of the year. November is the month in which my favorite holiday is celebrated. Thanksgiving means more than turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and homemade desserts that are part of the family tradition. Thanksgiving is the holiday where families gather and tell each other what they are thankful for while enjoying time spent together. No gifts are expected except the gift of words. And so this month I would like to share with you the things, places, people and ideas of which I am grateful. Maybe when you are done reading this, you will create your own list and begin a tradition of your own. As Melody Beattie so eloquently stated, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

I am thankful for. . .

. . . my friends and family who are the center of my universe because without them I would be incomplete.

. . . my co-workers who so openly welcomed me into their family and have helped guide me as I begin this new journey.

. . . the students of whom I am blessed to mentor and lead through the Leaders of Future Generations program. They are the reason I smile, laugh and applaud on a daily basis.

. . . the donors who graciously donate their time and money to our organization. Without them, we would not be who we are today.

. . . diversity, because the world would be a boring place without it.

. . . acceptance, tolerance and empathy, because these are the most important characteristics a person can possess in order to make the world a kinder and more gentle place to live.

. . . people who smile because they bring sunshine even on rainy days.

. . . the gift of optimism, because there is no better way to live.

. . . writing, because it is through words where I find myself.

. . . Santa Claus, because believing is magical.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ―William Arthur Ward