Gratitude lessons from the Great Depression 

November is National Gratitude Month and also our character focus this month. Having gratitude means we express humility and thankfulness for the people, opportunities, gifts, and talents afforded us.

The following story I believe speaks volumes about having a mindset of gratitude.

The year was 1933. The Great Depression had reached its lowest point as nearly 15 million Americans, 20 percent of the population, were unemployed and over half of the nation’s banks had failed. Others who remained employed had their wages reduced which also decreased their buying power. Soup kitchens, breadlines, and a growing population of homeless people were common across many cities and towns in the US.

Despite all of these challenges, many Americans learned how to make do with what they had. They developed an attitude of gratitude and learned how to be grateful for what they did have and not what they were going without.

We have learned throughout our history that it’s not what you don’t have, but what you do with what you have that counts the most. That type of perspective only happens when you have gratitude. Folks during the Great Depression may have eaten the same type of meal for days on end, but they learned to be grateful that they had food. 

Marty Bryan, who is in his late 80s, from Columbus, Ohio shared, “I lived through The Great Depression and can remember eating beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I was four years old but at least we had something to eat. Others didn’t.” 

Another resident from Columbus, Ohio, Maxine Bartelt, age 87, recalls. “Eating was different in those days, too. We didn’t come to a table and complain because the food wasn’t what we liked. There were not many choices. We ate or went without. Some days bread and gravy tasted very good.”

The point here is this. We all have challenges and struggles we have to deal with just like right now going through this pandemic.  And it can be easy to get down because of those challenges. But it’s during those challenging times where a focus on being truly grateful for what we have will get us through. Because no matter what issues we may have, there is always someone out there in the world who has even greater challenges. 

Take a moment right now and think about who or what you are grateful for in your life. Have you shown appreciation for what you’re grateful for? Have you told others that you are grateful for them? For me personally, I am truly grateful, thankful, and joyful that I have the opportunity to serve as your principal every day. I am grateful and appreciative that I have a supportive and loving family at home and a loving, supportive staff I get to work with everyday. 

So for the entire month of November, I encourage you to take the gratitude challenge and post on Twitter and Instagram about someone or something you are grateful for everyday this month. Use #MHSgraditude.

Posted by [email protected] On 01 November, 2020 at 4:15 PM  

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