In between cooking stuffing and slicing pie, millions of Americans will ask themselves, “What am I grateful for?” But, what if we should be asking ourselves a new question? A recent study published in Psychological Science suggests we should consider asking “what have I done recently that others might be grateful for?” Researchers thought that reflecting on giving could lead a person to see themselves as a benefactor, enhancing their identity as a caring, helpful individual and motivating them to take action to volunteer and benefit others. So, when we reflect on what we’re grateful for this year, it may be worthwhile to think about what we’ve done for others.
After reading this article I began to think about what I have done recently that others might be grateful for and I am ashamed to say, it is not as much as I’d like. Pastor Samuel came to visit this past September and after his visit I felt so motivated to take action, but here I am months later with nothing to show. I think many of us have this similar mindset and feeling. We are so motivated and we want to do something for a cause we believe in, but we just get so caught up in our own lives. I have gotten so caught up in my own life and everything going on, that I am forgetting what truly matters; helping others. I am getting ready to graduate college in December and I have been busy with all that accompanies that life transition, but that is not an excuse. If my time in Soweto taught me anything, it was about selflessness. You can see and feel how unselfish the adults and leadership at Provision Education Center are. They always take action and put the well being of the children before themselves.
I still keep in touch with Earnest, Pastor Samuel’s son, who gives me updates on how everyone is doing at Provision Education Center. Currently they are in the process of building a new kitchen, re-building a few rooms for the boarders, and they even are planning on having grade 8 next year! I am so thankful for technology and I love how God uses people in our lives to widen our eyes. Every time I hear from Earnest it reminds me to take a step back from my busy life and try and do something that others might be grateful for. Whether it be praying for the people in Soweto, writing this blog post, or setting aside a few extra dollars to save to donate, I can thank Earnest for this reminder.
Around Thanksgiving and the holidays, families will be together, warm meals will be eaten and stories will be shared. Think about how great it would be to be able to share how YOU have helped someone less fortunate than yourself. I hope this post speaks to all of you reading it. Take a step back from your busy lives, think about what motivates you to take action, and take the necessary steps. For me, it is the little Facebook messages I receive from a friend in Kenya and remembering the joy and hope that lies within the children of Provision Education Center. I encourage you to do something to benefit others this holiday season. Invest in the hopes and dreams of our children in Soweto. Happy Holidays!