Susan Cox: Thankful for family and so much more

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I am looking forward to gathering with my family again since COVID precautions kept us apart last year. We’re planning our menu, which in addition to the usual fare, includes a large variety of pies. While I like all the food, I’m most excited to spend a few days with my dad, several of my siblings, and some of my nieces and nephews. We usually do some Black Friday shopping, play a few games, watch silly movies, and stay up too late talking.

Thanksgiving is a good time to focus on things we’re grateful for. Besides being glad that I can celebrate with my family, I am thankful that the COVID situation has settled down enough that I can now teach my classes in person. We all have to wear masks, which is not my favorite thing, but when I get frustrated with that requirement, I remind myself that I much prefer teaching in person, even in a mask, to teaching online. Wearing masks also allows us to attend concerts, theatre performances, and other indoor activities that were canceled last year.

Another thing I’m thankful for this season is teachers who share ideas. I recently attended a symposium on teaching with technology sponsored by IUPUI. One teacher shared a way she adds handwritten comments on assignments turned in online — something I’ve been trying to figure out how to do for quite a while now. I had some questions after the symposium and when I emailed her, she graciously answered all of my questions.

I am also grateful for people who share positive stories. Our society has many unresolved issues, and we so easily divide into opposing groups and/or focus on how little progress we’re making. I appreciate how The Republic shares the good things happening in our community and people achieving their dreams. I was particularly touched by the story about Josh Holley (a former student of mine!) reaching his goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon after several unsuccessful attempts in the past few years.

Additionally, I started following Upworthy on social media to add some positivity to my feed and to see examples of people helping each other. I’m also grateful for opportunities I have to serve others and all the local organizations that provide ways for me to do so, such as Love Chapel, Sans Souci, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services and the United Way.

Other things I am thankful for include our beautiful world, the peace my faith in Jesus Christ brings, good friends, and a body that generally works well. I know making a gratitude list may seem cliché, but I always find that focusing on what I’m thankful for improves my mood, so I encourage you to make your own list.

Susan Cox is one of The Republic’s community columnists, and all opinions expressed are those of the writer. She is a mother and an adjunct instructor of English at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus and Indiana University Purdue University Columbus. She can be reached at [email protected]