Teaching you to be fearless
Allowing fear to impact your decisions will always hold you back. If you grew up in a family that encouraged you to conquer your fears—flying, navigating cities, traveling alone, riding rollercoasters—thank them endlessly. You will never have to be one of those unfortunate people who kicks him or herself 10 years down the road for passing up an opportunity that could have lead them to amazing things.
Letting you wear that
There are many reasons to be thankful for parents that allowed you establish your own unique style. It’s probably helped you avoid identity crises and allowed you to align yourself with various friend groups over the years. But most importantly, it’s resulted in hundreds of really, really incredible photos.
Teaching you about healthy relationships
If your parents showed you what a respectful, cohesive relationship looks like, thank them. If they taught you how to communicate successfully, choose your battles wisely, treat your significant other like your best friend, and resolve conflicts rather than walking away from them, you are blessed. Be grateful to your parents if they modeled healthy relationships for you. Not everyone is so lucky.
Not allowing you to attend that expensive college
This one is for the kids whose parents told them not to apply to that $50,000-a-year liberal arts college, and asked them to consider attending a state school instead. You owe your parents BIG TIME for not allowing you to accumulate hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt on an undergraduate education. If your parents put their foot down and gave the naïve 18-year-old you a healthy dose of reality, give them the biggest hug.
Teaching you that experiences are far more important than material things
Material things will break, go out of style, lose their appeal, and get lost. They’re unlikely to bring you much happiness and they won’t do you much good when you’re 80-years-old and semi-immobile. Memories on the other hand–nobody can take those away from you. Here’s to the lucky ones whose parents taught them to invest in experiences with the ones they care for, rather than fancy clothes and oversized houses. Your family has set you up for a really fulfilling life.
Sitting through hours of concerts and sporting events
Do you realize how boring it is to sit through a 3rd grade band concert, or spend hours upon hours at a baton competition? Do you understand how much time and money your parents invested getting you to all of those football, basketball, and hockey practices? Your parents put up with so much boredom, and if you’re like most people, you gave up on those sports and hobbies after a few years anyway. But the friendships you made and lessons you learned in the midst of all that practicing and performing will stick with you forever, so let your parents know that the pain and boredom was worth it.
Modeling good work ethic
I’m sure there were days when your parents came home from their jobs feeling beat-down and unhappy and still managed to get up the next day and head right back to the office. Whether your parents are doctors, lawyers, or blue-collar workers, you owe them lots of gratitude for teaching you how to be a dedicated worker.
Teaching you the importance of volunteerism
Wearing pink will not further breast cancer research, but fundraising might. I’d like to personally thank all of the parents out there who taught their children to actively support causes and organizations.
Teaching you that it’s fine to ask for help in getting back on your feet, but it’s not okay to become fully dependent on other people (or government entities).
This lesson coincides with the lessons your parent taught you about work ethic. If your parents taught you that as long as your mind and body are fit, you should be working and contributing rather than asking for others’ support, thank them deeply for that lesson.
Letting you believe that you could be whatever you wanted to be
When I was a kid, I wanted to be the Pink Power Ranger. I’d put on my Kimberly costume and ride up and down the street on my bike, protecting my neighborhood. I’m fairly certain that my parents realized that Goldar was never going to show up, but they let me do my thing anyway. If your parents allowed you to imagine yourself to be a superhero or a Power Ranger, or even an astronaut, be sure to thank them.
Making an effort to eat dinner as a family
It’s unfortunate to me that family dinners have become a thing of the past. If you grew up in a family that made an effort to eat together each night, or at least sit down together and catch up at the end of the day, you’re a lucky duck. And I’m willing to bet that yours is a very tight-knit family. Be grateful for that.
And finally: Teaching you to use the words ‘thank you’ in the first place.
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