This week I subbed for Mrs. Brown’s Oral Communications classes. Earlier in the year, her students had written topics on slips of paper and deposited them into Mrs. Brown’s tub of topics.  Now they had to draw a topic and write an intro for a speech. No “redraw”, no trading. They had to write their hook and link and hot points about the topic they drew. I had to hold back some chuckles and keep my eyebrows from raising as I listened to the students lament or celebrate their topics. Some of them were pretty lighthearted: “Is water wet?”, “Does a Jeep Wrangler look better than a Jeep Gladiator?” Some of them were familiar: “How to treat your pet”, “Should self-driving cars be legal?” Some of the topics weighed a ton and it hurts my heart that these teens have to address these issues: “The impact of single parenting and its effects on children”, “How to cope with the death of a family member”. 

The students didn’t choose their topic, the topic chose them. They will have to make sense of something that may make no sense to them. But I have faith that these students will push through their feelings of inadequacy and discomfort and find their purpose: to share what they’ve learned, to teach each other about something random and make it meaningful, to go to that vulnerable place where things get personal. I have faith that they will tackle the topic that chose them and they will give a victory speech, if for nothing more than to convince their classmates that water is indeed wet.

It seems my “thirty days of thanks and giving” has developed into an annual tradition (and challenge) for me. I’d like to say that I think about it all year long, but that would require me having a continuous attitude of gratitude, and I don’t. I’d like to say that I begin planning my posts in plenty of time. That would also imply that I make a conscious effort to be thankful, and I don’t. I’d like to say that I choose the topics, but in truth, the topics choose me. And the least I can do is push through inadequacy and discomfort, find a purpose, share what I’ve learned, make it meaningful, get vulnerable and personal. The least I can do is give, and be thankful. 

I’m thankful for Mrs. Brown’s tub of topics. I’m thankful for life’s tub of topics that are tossed my way. I’m sure a population of social media stalkers would say the whole “thirty days” thing is silly, and it is.  But for me, a thirty day commitment to thanks and giving doesn’t compare to the commitment Christ had to the cross. His death and, most importantly, His resurrection brings today’s gift of eternal life. I’m thankful for that and I hope that in some way, my gratitude will give Him glory.

“Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Eph 5:2

#thirtydaysofthanks #thirtydaysofgiving

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