Story type: Essay
You get tired of reading editorials in which one man, spouting from his editorial pulpit, lays down the law for you–without giving you a chance to reply or contradict.
So let us write this editorial together.
There you sit–the reader–in your street car, or perhaps clinging to a strap, and here we sit, impersonal editorial creature, thinking over thankfulness, Thanksgiving Day, and what reasons we have for feeling thankful.
Let us talk as few platitudes as possible, and try to get at a few of the inside workings of human life. —-
You look across the car and hate the fat man who lounges and spreads his feet around so boorishly.
LET US BE THANKFUL THAT WE SO READILY PERCEIVE THE SHORTCOMINGS OF OTHERS.
Much comfort is derived from others’ failings. In the quiet evenings we talk of our neighbors’ weaknesses and we enjoy them. By contrast we admire ourselves.
LET US BE THANKFUL THAT WE NEVER APPRECIATE OUR OWN LIMITATIONS.
Each man’s children are beautiful and promising in his view.
He cannot see the hopeless construction of their foreheads, nor can he read in their eyes the sad absence of “speculation.”
Let us be thankful for that. The future depends on the good care awarded to almost worthless specimens now. —-
FOR THE UNIVERSAL INSTINCT OF THANKFULNESS, LET BE DEEPLY THANKFUL.
The thick-lipped negro on the Congo finds a dead hippopotamus, half eaten by wild beasts, and in his woolly brain a dim, misty feeling of THANKFULNESS is born.
The Tartar bandit surprises mild Chinese conducting a tea caravan across the stony desert. He murders the mild Celestials and feels THANKFUL as he contemplates the booty.
A great Trust manager finds ways to add some millions to those which he already has and does not need. In THANKFUL mood he gives two millions or three to education.
As inborn, as instinctive as the beating of the heart in the human being is THANKFULNESS.
Thankfulness is the unconscious acknowledgment of a Higher Power.
It is the indestructible evidence of man’s permanent belief in just government of the universe.
It is the most hopeful, the most promising feature of man’s character.
For THANKFULNESS itself we should be thankful. —-
If you want to succeed, cultivate a feeling of hopeful thankfulness.
Hopefulness, thankfulness and success are as near akin as light, heat and motion–the same force underlies, makes up the first trio, as it does the second.
If you find it hard to be thankful, read a little of history, and thankfulness will come. Thousands of millions of men have lived and suffered to make your existence here at least bearable. You may not be satisfied, but you have comforts that were not dreamed of by the luckiest a few centuries back. You think the prosperous have too many privileges.
Perhaps they have. But when your great-grandfather was a young man a nobleman could order his lackeys to seize Voltaire the greatest mind in Europe–and beat him almost to death. Voltaire was locked up in the Bastile for complaining.
Thanks to the eternal row that Voltaire kicked up, you can never be treated as he was. So be thankful to Voltaire.
Be thankful to the long line of plucky men and fighters–not forgetting Christopher Columbus–who have gone before you.
Be thankful that you are alive in an interesting age with interesting events happening.
Be thankful also that with thankfulness you combine the feeling of dissatisfaction, of unrest that will push you ahead and give you cause for fresh thankfulness next year. —-
We are thankful to have you for a reader.
We are thankful for the criticisms and friendly comments that you occasionally send.
We hope that you will enjoy your dinner to-day and not regret it to-morrow.