Giving thanks

I’m always in an extra-reflective mood at this time of year, so today’s post is a collection of gratitude for some of those who have had a particular impact on my life and, more importantly here, my social work practice. It is surely an incomplete list, but hopefully it sparks others’ thoughts about the professional influences that have shaped them as advocates, social workers, truth-seekers and sayers.

  • My three awesome kids. Not just in the ‘awww…3 cute kids’ way, but in the ‘pushed me to step back and rethink my life and how I want to leave a mark on the world’ kind of way. Plus, they’re super fun.
  • Rolling Stone. I cannot imagine having survived 11 months of nursing twins, often in the middle of the night, without Matt Talibbi. Seriously.
  • My students. Truly, it would be hard to motivate myself, some days, to do anything other than just eat lunch and read restaurant reviews during the kids’ naptimes, without the knowledge that there are 30 some sets of eyes expecting me to have something relevant, maybe even profound, to say in class in a few days. I’m so thankful for the energy and irreverence and curiosity they bring to our profession, and to my life.
  • Good authors. I’ve done some really excellent reading this year, and I’m continually grateful for those who labor to put out great written content to spark my thinking.
  • QuikTrip. Seriously–where would I be without the fountain sodas and friendly service? A young mom’s best friend.
  • The University of Kansas. While I’m sure at times they are really tired of my constant pushing the envelope of what I can do (enroll non-degree-seeking students? let students audit my classes?), I’m really proud to be part of an institution that gives me a chance to share some of what I know, and what I wonder, with our profession’s future. And I still get to take my kids to the park.
  • The Internet, especially my RSS feed. Seriously, what would I do without blogs, online newspapers, my social networks? I love being able to share the interesting (to me, at least) content that I find with others and at least pretending that others are as interested! And all that information….
  • The immigrants alongside whom I had the pleasure to work for many years–I can’t imagine my life without those journeys, and I can’t imagine that I’d have much noteworthy to say about anything if it wasn’t for all we learned together.
  • Courageous, wise elected officials–YES, they really exist.
  • My iPod. Because, sometimes, I really need to listen to Political Gabfest instead of talking (again) about the truck that just drove by.
  • President Obama. No, I’m absolutely not smitten with everything he has done, and I’m certainly impatient about much that he hasn’t. But I’m still really glad that he’s president, and I still have quite a bit of hope. That doesn’t mean that I don’t sign a lot of petitions…
  • Speaking of which, activists everywhere. Thank you campaigners for cleaner air, fairer prisons, better schools, living wages, safer workplaces, gender equality, just immigration laws, affordable health care. Thank you wildlife watchers and free speechers and good government czars. Thank you for caring what kind of world my kids grow up in, and for being loud enough and smart enough and passionate enough to make me, and others, care too.
  • This blog, and my readers. You can’t even imagine how fun it is for me to have someplace to put all of these thoughts that swirl in my head, and to then see the statistics that people ARE ACTUALLY READING THEM. It’s amazing, and you’re amazing.

    Happy thanking.

  • 4 responses to “Giving thanks

    1. All of Melinda’s posts are informative, but this one is my favorite, because I know she means every word of it 1000 times over. Happy Thanksgiving, Lewis family!

    2. Back at you, girl. I never know what to expect when I open my email feeds, but it is always a plethora of emotional responses Thanks to you and especially to your family for sharing you.
      Kepp ’em coming

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