What It Means To Be Grateful In America

Generations of Americans have dreamt of a truly free country.
Generations of Americans have dreamt of a truly free country.
Our ancestors fought hard for our freedoms.
Our ancestors fought hard for our freedoms.
For many, this is the view looking in at America.
For many, this is the view looking in at America.
In America, women are not silenced.
In America, women are not silenced.
True Americans don't tolerate racism.
True Americans don't tolerate racism.
In America, colors can intermingle.
In America, colors can intermingle.
In America, women can run with the men.
In America, women can run with the men.

American Pride and Shame

 

I am American. Those three little words will elicit reactions ranging from pride to scorn depending on where one is upon uttering them. Americans do have a great deal to be boastful about yet it is for those same reasons that Americans should learn to practice humble tactfulness. So many of today’s generation of Americans have been so far displaced from the hard won battles that our ancestors fought to get to where we are today that there is a lack of true appreciation. Without being able to fully appreciate those noble efforts, we cannot truly begin to grasp the substantial significance of the freedoms we have.

Instead of being grateful for the things we are able to do, many Americans are more grateful for the things we are able to have. Please pardon the language, but we have become stereotyped as being ‘label whores’. Despite my cringing while writing this, I must admit that stereotypes do not manifest without at least some truth behind it and there is plenty of proof to warrant this abhor able classification. It bothers me deeply that I feel helpless to make any kind of recognizable dent in disproving the image as far too few of my fellow countrymen share my distaste for the worship of brand names.

It should not matter who is responsible for creating the objects I choose to use so long as it is built with high standards to last longer than the Swiss-cheese warranty. When I make a purchase, I look beyond the tag to see if I can find any discernable proof of quality. Customer reviews go along way towards convincing me so long as the customers in questions are those that I personally know do not have a vested interest in seeing that particular product sell.

Not so very long ago, people in this country could care less about who you wore than who you were. Of course there was always fashion and there have always been some people to whom that mattered more than anything but more often than not, you would find people scoffing at those who flaunted high dollar name brands. During our dark days of the Great Depression, a man’s good reputation was more likely to bring home the bacon than his clothes. Before that tragedy, people understood the value of hard labor and respected it. You were somebody if you were a farmer. Then everybody lost so much, if not everything, that you were somebody if you could procure a loaf of bread.

Fast forward to when children of the Great Depression were entering into adulthood and you will see the beginnings of our reign of selfishness. Having grown up having nothing and always being turned down, these individuals decided that they were never going to want for anything again. Their children came along and they got whatever they wanted and the same went for their children. That generation knew nothing of going hungry, literally or figuratively. Life was for living and they meant to enjoy all of it.

There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for your children, I do and any parent worth their weight in salt does, too. There is also something to be said for teaching the value of life. What it means to be able to ride down the road in the two or four wheeled vehicle of your choice playing the music of your choice wearing the clothes of your choice with the passengers of your choice as you head to the location of your choice. There are places in this big world that have laws regulating every aspect of a person’s private lives.

There are people hiding books under floorboards, radios behind walls, alcohol in false drawers, clothing of certain styles and/or colors stuffed anywhere they can find a spot, cosmetics, perfumes/colognes, jewelry, movies, computers with internet, just about anything that Americans value, cherish, and are unquestionably ungrateful for. It is not for us to understand why, we may never discover the source behind their anger. The only thing that we can do about it is prove them wrong. The old saying goes ‘kill them with kindness’. In this case, what that means is changing how we treat what we have, from our freedom of speech to our ‘made in China’ televisions. It is well past time for Americans to wake up and reset our priorities. We do not need to ‘get back to basics’ to do that, though it certainly would not hurt. We simply need study the word grateful and teach ourselves how to live by that definition.

grate·ful

grate·ful

[gráytfəl]

adj

1.

feeling or expressing thanks:

having or showing the desire or reason to thank somebody I'm very grateful to you for your help.

2.

comforting:

giving pleasure or comfort (archaic or literary)

[Mid-16th century. < obsolete grate "pleasing, thankful" < Latin gratus ]


-grate·ful·ly, , adv
-grate·ful·ness, , n

 

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Comments 18 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

This is an amazing article. Yes, we are a nation that has become greedy and spoiled. My sister and I are trying so hard to teach her kids that what they wear does not make them and the kids who look down on them for not wearing name brands just don't get it. I guess I went through this as a kid but I always knew the girls that were growsed out that I got the same nice clothes as them but at a bargain store and were judging me, were Missing the boat. We do have to be grateful and this is what makes life so full. thx for taking time to write an important piece. Rated up and Awesome


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

yep. I think you have written a masterpiece hub here.


Nick B profile image

Nick B 6 years ago from Normandy, France

It's a sad fact of life that nowadays people are judged more on what they wear than what they have to offer as people.

It's no different here in England, where what your labels say seems to say more than what you are.

We have all become too embroiled into this maelstrom of consumerism and will be in for a hard fall when it dries up - as it is bound to do eventually.

Great hub and I think there are people around the world who should be sharing in its sentiments, not just your countrymen and women.


Gypsy48 profile image

Gypsy48 6 years ago

Great hub! Your words hit home.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Minnetonka~Thanks for the wonderful feedback! I'm glad that you are also trying to teach the youth of today how to look beyond labels! Keep up the good work!

Chris~Thank you! That means a lot coming from you. I'm happy that you appreciated it.

NickB~I suppose I should be relieved that this is not just a homegrown problem but it actually makes me more upset.

Gypsy48~I really appreciate you taking the time to share your approval! It means a lot to me. Thank you!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Chaotic Chica: Greatfulness and thankfulness go hand in hand, not a lesson everyone knows or understands, but a simple bit of courtesy, that goes a long way and can prove beneficial at a later time. I could illustrate, but I won't. Our appreciation for things or services or even just a kind word, is never overlooked, is appreciated by the receiver too.

Dave.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Dave~You made a very good point here. Most people want positive reckognition for the things they do but are not so quick to return the favor. Thank you for adding your accurate insight!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Chica, this is a good and powerful hub. We ARE ungrateful. We DO take our blessings for granted, way too much, on the whole, as a nation.

I always like writing that brings us to remember a time in America when people struggled for their daily bread and a roof over their heads. Those were our valiant and mostly unsung ancestors. They were tough. They weren't spoiled at all. And they would think we have it SO SOFT!


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Paradise~That's because we DO have it soft! Even in these times of economic distress and hardship, we do not have it as bad as they did and others in less fortunate countries still have it. Thank you on your wonderful compliments!


Kangaroo_Jase profile image

Kangaroo_Jase 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

Hey Chica,

Values, principles and integrity and teaching these to our children is the best weapon against over reaching consumerism and being a 'brand whore'.

Not just the USA and the UK, but this happens in Australia too.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Hey Jase, I agree with you theories on how to avoid overdoing it. I do wonder how many people there and in the UK blame it on us Americans, though. I know a lot of people do and, unfortunately, we are at least somewhat to blame. Either way it is a sad state of affairs, indeed!


Traqqer profile image

Traqqer 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I feel very grateful. There are a lot of religious people out there who pray that others could be religious too (e.g., others could become Christians). Rather, they should be praying that the leaders of this country continue to be wise and uphold the constitutional freedom for others to choose which religion (or not) they wish to follow. It is this freedom that makes this country so great....the tolerance for religion, race, and other things. That's what I am grateful for.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

Well said, Traqqer, well said. You have summed up what this was all about-being grateful for having the RIGHT to practice or not whatever religion you choose, having the RIGHT to publicly talk about it, and having the RIGHT to be who you want to be. Thank you, very much, for commenting and sharing your views!


EatLovePray profile image

EatLovePray 6 years ago from Canada

This was an AMAZING piece! :)


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 6 years ago

Great hub

We should always be grateful for what we have. Too often we as a country concentrate on what we do not have. Thanks for writing the hub.


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 6 years ago Author

EatLovePray~Thank you for your compliment!!!

Dennis~Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! You are absolutely right about not concentrating on what we do have. I attribute that to media marketing mogouls who did too good of a job combined with a selfishness that is invading every part of our lives.


healthp profile image

healthp 5 years ago

so glad that you wrote a hub on this subjet


Chaotic Chica profile image

Chaotic Chica 5 years ago Author

Thank you, healthp. I'm not a teaparty participant or an extremist but I am an American who wants to see this country live up to the ideals our founders intended.

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