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November 26, 2015 • Headline News
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Thankful teens

Survey answers dispel myth of ungrateful kids

Sandy Day Howard

Do we give enough credit to the children we’ve raised for recognizing the gifts they’ve been given? Our society screams of self centeredness, of putting ourselves and our own wants first above all else. Appreciation has been lost, it would seem, among the selfish desires an ungrateful world encourages. Parents often wonder if sacrifices are seen by their children, workers wonder if those who sign their checks appreciate them, friends and family members are concerned that they may not have done enough, or too much. It would seem that adults often underestimate themselves, and the children they’ve raised.

In a world where moral values are selective and gratitude is sometimes hard to find, there comes reassurance in small, subtle ways if we truly search for it. Comfort can be found in the oddest places, at times. Ripley Publishing surveyed 75 South Ripley students, ages 13-19, in an attempt to dispel the myth that teens are not grateful for what they have.

The teens were asked: “If today was your last day, what is one thing that you would look back on and say, ‘I’m so lucky to have had that!’” Their responses may renew your faith in the human spirit, in self sacrifice, and in the hearts of children. These were their responses:

South Ripley 7th graders

South Ripley 7th graders share many reasons to be thankful. Pictured left are laying, Dillon Binion; left Devin Castner, Ethan Seitz and Luke Fields; LJ McQueen, Kylie Heppner and Cecilia Grigsby.

Brock Rolf recently turned 18. “I’m so grateful for my family,” he replied. “Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am.” “I’m thankful that I have a life,” reasoned Jamie Thomas. “I want to cherish every moment of it. I want to help people while I have the chance. I’m also thankful to have a free life, to be able to live in America! And I am thankful for all the people around me.”

Matt Harris, a South Ripley senior, said this: “I’m thankful I was blessed with a wonderful family and that I live in the greatest country in the world!” Junior high student Austin Disbro looked toward his environment, with gratitude:” I’m thankful that I live in the country because I have room to run and play!” Lauren McIntosh is now in high school. “I’m thankful for so many things in my life, but my mother and cross country take the cake! My mother is my true best friend who I can talk to about anything. She encourages me and shows how proud she is of me. Cross country is the first time in my life I’ve felt needed (or wanted). My coaches, Jim and Karen Cole, are awesome and actually care about us. Cross Country has given me so much. I’ve slowly gotten braver and better in many ways.”

Joseph Cairnes is thankful for our soldiers. “They go out every day, risking their lives and giving up their time with family and friends so that we are free in the United States. I can go to whatever school I want, and do whatever I want, so I’m thankful for our soldiers.” “I’m thankful for food!” Lauryn Dilk says.” I treasure food because I know that people around the world don’t have as much and it keeps me from starving.” Jordan Pelfrey said, “I’m thankful for people like my dad because my dad is in the US Marine Corps. If nobody knows what that is, it is a branch of the US military!”

Faith Martin
expressed her sentiment toward her dad. “I’m so thankful for my dad. He is so amazing and supportive. He has always been there for me no matter what. I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Ethan Seitz, who is grateful for Faith Martin, had this to say: ” I am thankful for Faith Martin because just to hear her voice or see that pretty face gives me a reason to eat, sleep, and get out of bed in the morning. If it was not for Faith, I would most likely not be in this class because before I met her, I was very dark and angry. But now, I’m happy!”

Tyler Adams expressed similar sentiment toward his father. “I am truly thankful for having anything I want. I'm so lucky to have had parents that took me wherever I wanted. I treasure my dad.” Ali Peak thought for a while before her reply. ”I’m thankful for what great teachers and parents I have. Some kids don’t realize how good they have it until it’s gone. My parents and I haven’t always gotten along and I used to think my parents didn’t love me. Now I know they did it all because they DO love me! Some children aren’t as lucky as I am, and I’m just so grateful that my parents and teachers have been there to guide me to the right path on the road of life.” (Kids really DO get it!)

Kiley Suzanne Heppner put her gratitude into a perspective that only few can.”I am thankful for life itself. My life has been pretty bumpy, but I’ll always have reasons to be happy. No matter what, there will always be a hole in the roof, but thankfully, we have buckets. And thankfully, I have family.” This is how Luke Fields summed up his gratitude. “I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to live my life with two loving parents. People in their lives have had unloving parents, parents that died, parents that divorced, or just unhappy parents. My parents have always had a perfect relationship, and it has caused me no problems!” (Way to go, Scott and DeeDee!)

Cecilia Grigsby thought her response out reasonably: “I’m thankful for my friends and family. My family supports me and so do my friends. When I have problems, I can trust both. Most of my friends are guys, and I still trust them even though a couple of them are loudmouths. Either way, life has its ups and downs, but you should cherish what’s close to you.” Some kids are thankful for precious friendships. “I am thankful for my friend Red because she always brightens my day,” stated Noah Harrison. “One thing that I am truly thankful for is my best friend, Sarah.” Donna Tice says.” I am thankful for her because she is always there to lift me up when I’m feeling bad or give me confidence when I don’t believe in myself.”

Dillon Binion is happy to be a high achiever. “I'm thankful for my smarts,” said the teen. “They have given me a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have if not for my smarts! I am also thankful for my parents. They are always helping me with what I want to do and are always supportive of me.” (Way to go Mom and Dad!)
“I am thankful for my grandparents because they get up at 4 a.m. to get my clothes laid out and to make sure that I am ready for school.” Luke Jackson, in his infinite wisdom, sees the sacrifices of the family he loves. LJ McQueen looks at her friends and family as gifts. “I am thankful for my parents because they love me even though I don’t deserve to be. I am also thankful for my best friends Lydia and Kyla because of how they act around me. I understand this might not be much to you, but this is a lifetime of goodness for me.”

Ethan Hansen said, simply this: “I am thankful for God.” (From the mouths of babes…) “To be honest”, responded Leah Hill, “I’m thankful for music. Whenever I was down or hurting, I could put in my headphones and tune out the world. “ Vanessa Hite is in high school. She’s thankful for her family’s perseverance. “They have put up with me and have been by my side through thick and thin. I’m also thankful for food because I love eating and I’m thankful for my books because I love to read!”

Devin Castner summed up his gratitude like this:”I am thankful for my home because going to all of these different places and seeing homeless people on the streets, I think it’s a miracle that they are living! I am proud to be an American that is free and has a home.” And from an anonymous responder, came this: “I treasure my Aunt Alice Riley because she took me in when I wasn’t with my mom and dad and we had nowhere to go. She loves me with all of her heart and I love her with all of my heart.”

So take heart….appreciation is not obsolete nor is it buried beneath greed and selfishness! There is gratitude, respect and good in the world! Kids really DO mirror the values they’re taught and, despite the darkness in our world, there is a glowing light of thankfulness in the eyes of our children.

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