Have you ever talked to someone who served in WWII or lived through the Great Depression? Most younger people would probably roll their eyes when an elderly person starts talking about the "old days" or starts off a sentence with "why, when I was your age", but I love hearing all of their stories - back when you had to wait in a long line for a crappy government food handout, when you had to wear the same few articles of clothing until they fell apart, what people used to do for fun back when many people didn't have technology (or money)...
There's a reason that we call them "The Greatest Generation". I can see the character that their hardships inspired in them. I can see it in the far-away look in their eyes when they talk about life as a child, the never-say-die work ethic that leads many of them to work so hard that they literally burn themselves out, and how even today when so many conveniences are available, they still choose to do without. Until I stopped to talk with them, I didn't understand why elderly people shake their heads at the spoiled kids & young adults of today who are convinced that they have real problems even though they grew up in such luxury.
Little Billy is upset because he didn't get everything he wanted for his birthday. Little Billy ought to be glad his parents could afford to get him anything at all! Just being able to make ends meet used to be a minor miracle. For many today, it still is.
Tara is moping because she has to go on a 5-hour car trip with "only" her dumb ol’ iPod to keep her occupied. That cushy car with all of its well-tested safety devices and her customizable toy that can provide endless hours of entertainment would have seemed like gifts from heaven back in the day.
Emo Ed is pouting in his room because his life is terrible. He should try telling a kid who grew up during the Depression that living in an air-conditioned house saturated with technology, stocked with food & clean, drinkable water, and packed with the wearable clothing that his life is “terrible”! There are young kids with cancer and other terminal illnesses who would do anything for the privilege of even having a healthy life to live!
It seems like today's generations take more and more things for granted because they don’t realize how good they have it. Some people my age are selfish attention seekers who walk around feeling entitled to everything. I see teenagers curse their parents and scream "MINE!" without even realizing how Mom & Dad have both worked so hard at their jobs to give them everything they have. I see little kids throwing tantrums in stores because they have to wait for 10 minutes and do NOTHING (gasp!) while their parents finish looking around.
Please…even if it’s only for a few minutes today, take a look around you and give thanks to God, your parents, or whatever else you want to believe in for the miracle of being able to be here today with what you have. Even if you think you have it bad, I guarantee that you don’t. Not compared to the people with real problems. I used to feel depressed quite a lot, but now that I see things for what they are it's hard to feel sorry for myself.
Remember - no matter how bad you think you have it, there's someone out there who's worse off than you. Give thanks that you're not them.
What are you glad for?