The ones who made me.
I am grateful for my parents. I am confident I don’t know the tithe of the blessings they gave me. When I first left home and people asked about them I said “they’re just ordinary good people.” A few years later I had met a lot more ordinary good people and I switched to trying to sample some of the particular traits they have that make them far more than ordinary good people. As I continued to mature I realized the futility of such samplings and switched to simpler, more accurate statements: I was raised in a perfect environment by the best parents I can imagine. Most, if not all, of what I admire about myself I can trace back to a dozen instances of my parent’s tutelage.
I am grateful for people who tell me I’m wrong; particularly, but not exclusively, when they do so with patience. Each of my siblings, my many roommates, random friends and professors and strangers on the street; I could list hundreds of names and ways I’ve been corrected. These range from the life-changing moment in my mid teens when my brother Joseph reprimanded my sloppy attempt to communicate to the recent stray comment of a grocery-store bagger that realigned how I think about the human cogs in the machinery of life. I could write several posts a day about the little miracles that people drop in my lap with a stray correction.
I am grateful for those who mentor me, showing me “a more excellent way”. I count many of the scriptural prophets in this category, as also my parents, church leaders, professors, and some friends. I have been taught to read thoughtfully, to write quickly, to speak clearly, to handle online business communication, to make friends in office politics, not to mention the more visibile skills of working, studying, researching, and writing and presenting papers which form the core of my chosen walk of life. In each I can point to particular mentors who, wittingly or not, guided me from what I was to who I am.
In short, I am very grateful I’m not a hermit.