I'M ASHAMED TO say it, but I'm spoiled. Thanks to my parents, I've never known what it's like to not live in a nice house or not have food whenever my stomach even purred. I haven't had to face any Pursuit of Happyness-esque adversity growing up. My parents are still together, they both work, and they both are wise with their money.
Due to these fortunate circumstances, I feel that if I would say I'm thankful for the easy childhood of prosperity I have enjoyed, it would be superficial because I can't compare my childhood to anything tough in my own life. Of course I know people that don't have as good fortune as I do, and my heart goes out to them. But I can't identify with them because my life so far has been filled with blissful ignorance.
Some kids my age have had to deal with a death in the family- the closest experience I've had with death was when my best friend's dad died when we were in 7th grade. But even then, I felt terrible because I had no idea how it felt, no idea what to say. I also think it's kind of cruel to say I'm thankful that something didn't happen to me, as in "I'm thankful that my family's house didn't burn down." I see that as saying "that sucks for the families whose houses that DID burn down." I mean it in the most thankful and respectful way possible, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm using another's misfortune to celebrate my own well-being. I guess the only thing I can be genuinely thankful for is that I can see the state of my life right now, and recognize that I'm not the average for the world.
I'm reminded of the Miniature Earth concept; if we were to look at the Earth as populated by 100 people, how would it break down, and where would we end up in that number:
We, as Americans, are extremely lucky just because of our nationality. If you have your own room, bed, and closet in a house, you are wealthier than 75% of the rest of the world. It's humbling to take in that statistic, and the whole concept is very effective on kids around Thanksgiving, who are probably most thankful for the boyfriend/girlfriend or their new cell phone. But the miniature Earth concept gives us kids a great perspective of how good we've got it. We're lucky our biggest challenge in the day is dealing with friend drama, because it could be much, much worse.
That's why this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for being American, having a brain, and having a family.