One of the most easily found truths in this world is that time is easily wasted. Many minutes and hours of my week go to waste getting lost on the internet, talking on the phone, or throwing an outfit together that will undoubtedly get overturned by another. As a result things go undone. The laundry will still lie in a heap, that run to the bank gets pushed to the next day, and new ideas remain just as that. With all the time that goes wasted in my week, I can at least look at an hour and a half of it and know that some good has been done in this world.
Every Thursday night I tutor middle school children at an organization called Firm Foundation in one of the more underdeveloped and ignored parts of St. Louis City. The most enjoyable part of this experience is that the majority of the children that come are refugees from Africa, Somalia, and Iraq. They are kids who live in what we consider to be impoverished areas here, but see hope and opportunity compared to where they came from. Moreover, they are kids who are determined to learn. Some Thursdays I am so exhausted from work all I can think about is sleeping. Usually those are the Thursdays I have a greater appreciation for the smiles on these kids faces from getting all their math equations correct or successfully reading their ESL lesson.
I go through the week wasting a lot of time: worrying about having enough spare cash for that great outfit, or what style rug I want for my living room. In this upcoming week of thanks, I look at the fact that I should be grateful for even being able to worry about these simple things in life. We all have things that need to get done during our days. However, nothing is more important than giving back some time in gratitude for all we have accumulated in our lives, including wonderful educations. You'll even still have some to waste if you do.
*Top photograph by artist Neil Das. Visit his work at The Dassler Effect.