Stop Complaining We have Freedom from Want

                                            Lucas Brooks
When you think about all that’s wrong in life, it’s easy to complain. You might complain about your grades being too low, or your parents not letting you do something, or that you don’t have the best and newest iPhone. But, how many times do we stop to consider all the positive things in life?

We can all relate to the tradition on Thanksgiving Day of everyone going around the table and saying what they’re thankful for. “Ummm, I’m thankful for my family,” we might say. We don’t think about it. We really just want to be done talking so we can eat. We rarely stop and think about how not everyone has the ability to talk to their friends or look at their loved ones. Whatever it may be for you, it’s important to realize the gifts you have.

Just think about the simple things: food, health, education. We have a really good school. Our teachers are supportive and challenge us and the students treat each other well, compared to how students at other schools treat each other. And, if you can walk, that’s another thing to be thankful for. Its simple things like these that we take for granted.

We are all guilty of being unappreciative, even if we try not to be. Living in The United States of America, one of the greatest countries on Earth, spoils us with freedom to do what we choose. Many people around the world don’t have that privilege. Some can’t show their faces in public. Others can’t go to school and obtain a quality education.

We, however, have brave men and women willing to risk their lives for us and protect those freedoms stated in the Constitution. They sacrifice time away from their families to keep us all safe, not seeing each other for months at a time. It’s this kind of sacrifice that simply requests gratefulness in return, which is nothing compared to all they do for us.

The Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell is a series of paintings he created that focused on the basic and essential human rights. The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want. Roosevelt’s vision for what the world could be inspired citizens of The United States to support the war effort, realizing that what they had was not shared by all. And, they could lose their freedoms should the Allied forces fail.

Looking at each painting, I see what we all take for granted. I see a man voicing his opinion openly. I see men and women being faithful and worshipping. I see a mother and father tucking their children into bed. Lastly, I see a big fat turkey being set down at a table in front of loving family members with smiling faces. These are freedoms for the people of America.

But, sadly, they are not shared by all of the world. A family living in a Third World country might not be free from want. The parents of that family would do anything to give their children meals like we have every day in America. And, a little boy in Syria might not be free from fear, as he tries to fall asleep to the sound of bombings in the distance.

Since the Civil War, the United States has never had a war within its borders. War is something we’ve been fortunate enough not to experience. Living in Baltimore County, in the great state of Maryland, in the great country that is The United States of America, there’s so much to be thankful for. Why wait till Thanksgiving comes around to appreciate it all?