Thursday, December 25, 2008

I Am Thankful For My Mango Juice

“I am thankful for my mango juice” Kerry Ann Hall

Last year while traveling on vacation in Jamaica, I listened to three cousins (two who are growing up in the United States and one who is growing up in Jamaica) having a conversation about gifts they had received for either their birthday or for Christmas. The two children from the United States were complaining about the number of (or lack thereof) gifts they had received and/or the cost of the gifts. When the two asked their cousin from Jamaica what she had received, she let them know that she had received very few items but she was thankful even for her mango juice. I was as touched and blown away by her sincerity and gratitude expressed for something such as a glass of mango juice as I was by her cousins’ quizzical almost ungrateful amusement at the thought of being thankful for just “mango juice.”

I start this edition of The Critical Thinker with that story because like that child, I am thankful for my mango juice. Of course I am now speaking metaphorically with mango juice representing the smallest of what some would consider worth being thankful for. I believe the economic conditions that we are now facing are causing many to rethink just what they truly are thankful for. I believe many are now really beginning to understand that life is just not about “things.” I believe this economy is causing many to re-look at the value that we place on materialism and see that we truly can be thankful for our mango juice. We truly can be thankful for life, health, and strength. We can be thankful for every breath that we take; a smile; a hug; a kind word; things that for many would seem as trivial as the mango juice appeared to be to the two cousins living in the U.S. What! No IPODs, XBOX, PlayStation, Laptop, MP3, cell phone, Jordans, Timberlands, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Infinity, two hundred room mansions? Thankful for mango juice? Are you kidding me?

I keep telling folks that the older I get, the shorter my Christmas gift giving list gets; however, for the couple of times that I did venture out into the stores this Christmas season, they were virtually empty. Many stores were offering products at discounts of fifty percent off and more and still very few people were buying. It was as if the stores could not give their wares away. Folks are spending their money on the bare necessities leaving a lot of room for the appreciation of things that do not cost in life. Things like the ones I mentioned above.

So as I close this edition of The Critical Thinker, I wish everyone reading this a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. Let’s all be thankful for our mango juice.


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