Gratitude is Riches

A dad writes a letter of gratitude to his parents.

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratitude (Thanksgiving), Ten Commandments (1-5)

Now that I am a parent, I realize this letter to my parents is long over due. Some of it is from my seven year old self and some of it is from my forty something year old self (all intermixed). If my children read this, I hope they will see how grateful I am for you.

I know I don’t say thank you enough. I can never show how grateful I am for all that you have done for me, so I will say it now.

Thank you getting me to school. Thank you for breakfast. Thank you for foregoing sleep for the first several years of my life. Thank you for changing my diapers and rocking me to sleep. Thanks for the ice cream. Thank you for picking up after my dog (I know I promised to, but often I forgot). Thanks for washing my socks after soccer. Thanks for taking me to the park.

Thanks for keeping me honest. Thanks for teaching me kindness. Thanks for showing me right from wrong. Thanks for teaching me monotheistic morality: I know that’s a mouthful, but it basically means that good and bad are not relative. They are not subjective. There is a right and a wrong—a higher power—God. There is wisdom.

And the wisdom of thousands of years of human experience is in the Bible. Thank you for sharing the parables and stories of prophets and kings and carpenters. Those stories are part of the fabric that formed the place I live in right now. Thank you for teaching me the Ten Commandments. They changed how humans related to each other and to God, and they absolutely have relevance today.

And thank you for reading the Golden Rule to me: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt 7:12). Thank you for teaching me prayers. Because when the darkness comes, I can pray. You have taught me how. I have a prayer to hold onto in the storm. And when the tempest is stilled, I am strong and brave; I “let my light shine” on a hill. I will not hide it “under a bushel” (Matt 5:16, 15). You have shown me this.

I know I whine occasionally. I know I have complained from time to time. But keep showing me the bright side. Keep turning my thought upward. “Forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors” (from Matt 6:12). And lord knows, I need forgiveness now and then. Help me to “turn the other cheek” when I really want to strike out (from Matt 5:39).

Please be the example I need for someday, maybe not for years and years, but someday that example may make me a better person. I will remember how you forgave me when I crashed the car, and how you listened when I got my heart broken. I will remember how you always prayed for me. How you supported your church and your community.

And I will remember that book you read from, that book people have turned to for thousands of years. And when I need wisdom and light, I too, will turn to the Bible for help and inspiration. And I will do so because I had you as a guide. Thank you for your support and most of all thank you for seeing me as I am—a child of God.

A grateful son and dad

Editor’s Note: This article highlights the fifth commandment: "honor your father and your mother." The original meaning of this commandment was that adult children should be excellent examples for their own children in how to treat parents. One definition of "to honor" is "to be respectful in word and action." Gratitude for our parents -- both feeling it and showing it! -- is an excellent way to fulfill this commandment.