Thankfulness—What’s the Point?


Those who know me will understand that I’m not posing a snarky, rhetorical question with this blog title. I definitely appreciate a little wit and sarcasm, but this is not a Mark Twain, “No good deed goes unpunished,” piece either. Instead, it’s a simple reminder to myself and an encouragement to the reader to stop and think about how our thankfulness should be abundantly clear to others.


I’m thankful for the church my wife and I belong to. That thankfulness is expressed through volunteering as an elder, giving time and resources, and showing support for others. What good is my thankfulness if I don’t act on it?


I am thankful for my family. I try to make this very clear by the way I act, and I express my love and appreciation to them, too. What’s the point? I hope I have modeled my appreciation and what it means to live out thankfulness. I hope succeeding generations do that, too. Now that I’m a grandpa, I think about that a lot.


I am thankful for our school district and community. I’m not sure there is another place like us in Iowa, a progressive 4A district in a supportive small town. That’s what drew me to Indianola and what makes me thankful every day. Our students and staff are incredible. When I get a chance to express my thankfulness, I love to. Nothing beats visiting the bus barn to thank the drivers, handing out goodies to staff at a reception, spending time with students, or attending school events. I hope people can see how thankful I am.


As we head to our respective expressions of thankfulness during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we need to remember that many people are struggling. We all know people who have lost loved ones, are staring down cancer, are experiencing financial difficulty, or are trying to escape dysfunctional relationships. What’s the point of thankfulness? I hope it is to show compassion, extend comfort, and demonstrate understanding to those who need it so desperately. These needs are why I am so proud of our students who take part in UNICEF Club, Interact, and Silver Cord, to name just a few. I’m thankful for students and staff who volunteer at food pantries in three of our school buildings. I’m proud to serve on the ICYF board, which has made the Helping Hand expansion a reality. I’m thankful for people who have compassion for the homeless, like those who started Heal House. United Way, the Hope Foundation, local service clubs, the ministerial association—everywhere you look in our community, there are caring people. That’s the point of thankfulness, and that’s why Indianola is such a great place to work and learn and live.