Thankful for a sense of community

This is such a special time of the year: Thanksgiving is a time “we gather together”and recount our many blessings. There is much for which all of us can be thankful, including the spirit of giftedness all around us.

Look around in your surroundings, you will discover a treasure of giftedness. Recently, I was privileged to interview a number of seniors in one of our local high schools. Within our students, I saw a treasure of human giftedness brimming with exuberant potential. I am convinced that our future is in the best of hands!

You know, one need only take a look at one’s local surroundings and community environment. One will see an abundance of creative, resilient, and energetic giftedness at work. There are individuals, many of whom are talented laborers, human services personnel, retailers, teachers, and elected officials, all contributing unselfishly to the vibrancy of life. Truly, they are a gift to all of us.

When viewing our everyday surroundings, one will see skilled construction workers, plumbers, electricians, engineering specialists, and experts in the various trades busily at work They are working untiringly to meet the needs of all of us.

In our viewing scope, we see hard working farmers, food production, and food suppliers, striving to supply the nutritional needs of the population. Often, they work against overwhelming adverse weather conditions to cope with the ravages of drought, flood, cold, and heat. These folks make for the benefit of all. Truly, their contribution and work ethic is a gifted example for many to emulate.

And then, “24-7,” there is the critical need for the expertise, sacrifice, and thoughtfulness of our highly skilled emergency personnel. In all kinds of weather, whatever the day or the season, these individuals give of self. Their high level of training is pressed into immediate and sometimes dangerous remedial procedures. There is no end to the required personal sacrifice and untiring commitment they must endure. They are a gift to the entire community.

There is no end to the call for highly skilled and gifted health care workers and providers. Often the time and demand for these dedicated, caring, and thoughtful, individuals edges close to the the limit of human expectation. And yet, because of their commitment , health care providers stay where the need is, and where their professional dedication and personal conscience will not allow them to do otherwise. What a gift we have in their giftedness.

All of us are dependent, almost daily, upon the many tasks rendered by our skilled public service personnel. They are uniquely instrumental toward the effective implementation of vital public services. Regardless of inclement weather of snow, wind, rain, and public disaster, their work must go on… and so it does.Their talent and skills are constantly in demand. When the need is there, so are they, and their responsiveness is a gift we appreciate with gratitude.

We are fortunate to have in our midst, highly trained and scrupulously efficient and effectual business entrepreneurs, commercial agencies, and this newspaper and other media. The skills of these folks, combined with the free market system, supports the underpinnings of economic growth which fosters and strengthens our financial fabric and standard of living. We are so thankful to those who so faithfully deliver “Meal on Wheels” to the needy and in all kinds of weather. What a gift they are!

And that takes us back to where we began in this article … the school. In the schools and institutions of higher learning, we have seen Exceptionalism at all levels of the age spectrum.

Recently, I visited several of our local schools. I saw creative students busily and painstakingly at work.

Bullying is not tolerated by students or staff. The students are inspired and nurtured by thoughtful, engaging, and gifted teachers and staff. The students were advancing academically and, concurrently, they were savoring the simple and marveling at the complicated.

Most assuredly, our young people cherish the giftedness of family, the caring nature of their school, and the thoughtfulness of their peers.

Ah yes, in our town, old and young alike know that true giftedness will last not only for a season, but for all seasons of life. For you see, when one shares with others…what one has to offer… then indeed all around us exists a treasure trove of giftedness. Truly, we are thankful for Our Town, USA.

Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is emeritus member of the College Council and Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus SUNY Fredonia.


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