November 18, 2018, Prescott-
I am devoting Thanksgiving week to specific reasons for gratitude. Each day will address a theme that is cause for praise and happiness. Today, I want to look at what I’ve gained, from friendships with people in ten different groups.
Senior citizens: Those over 75 years of age (my arbitrary definition of senior citizen) have accrued the life skills and practice to address even the most anomalous of occurrences. Those who have all their faculties intact have consistently pointed me in the right direction.
Teenagers: Having worked largely with teens, over the past forty-two years, I find their honesty and energy have been life-affirming and have kept me very much in a place of integrity. A teen’s “BS Meter” is equal to that of a senior citizen. The current generation of youth, at least those with whom I work, seem to know that much will be expected of them, in the very near future.
Children under twelve: Like those immediately older than they, the current generation of children has a sense of most likely needing to clean up messes made by others. They tend to have a strong sense of destiny and are the least likely to “be seen and not heard”. I find their honesty also very refreshing, even when it is seemingly adversarial.
Happily married (both genders): I have many friends, both male and female, who are at a good place in their marriages. The perspective brought by a married person, with no ax to grind, actually is a blend of both their opinion and that of their spouse-thus being more grounded. I am more likely to become friends as well, with the spouse of a friend who is happy in wedlock.
The firm in faith: A person who is well-grounded, but not dogmatic, in their faith is most likely to be open to the commonality of spiritual truth. As this commonality is the basic teaching of the Baha’i Faith, to which I adhere, I find this firmness a compelling basis for my friendships with many who adhere to other faith traditions.
The happily engaged: Whether in gainful employment or in acts of voluntarism, a person who is happy in what s(he) is doing with time, is an affirmation of my own concept of acts of service. Happily engaged people tend to be more trustworthy and connected with others.
Lifelong learners: Students of life, of every age group, present fresh perspectives to any given situation. They also challenge me to keep on looking into new issues, or to look at old matters, with fresh eyes.
Special Needs people: Whether simple in nature or full of complexity, my friends of special need are always up front about what addresses those needs. It takes intuition, to understand the feelings and wants of a special needs person. Anything that hones intuition is a good experience.
Having friends in each, and sometimes several, of these categories is largely what has contributed to the richness of my life.