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Thankful. Why do we only use that word when it’s November?

Have we locked thanksgiving into a holiday?

I am guilty of it. Every Thanksgiving as my family sits around the dinner table covered in too many pies and casseroles, we each list what we are thankful for. This is our tradition, as it may be with other families.

Sometimes I’m struck with the thought that I don’t truly take the time to think about how grateful I am until the last Thursday in November. We shouldn’t trap the ability to say, “I’m thankful for you” on a holiday. Tell your friends you are thankful for them in the third week of May or the first of September.

Remember to be thankful in the small and quiet times too. We don’t need a turkey dinner to express our thanks, but it does make it easier. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that reminds us to take time to appreciate what we have. It forces us to pause our fast paced lives. The thing is, we need to continue that appreciation throughout the year. Thanksgiving was just a week ago. Have you expressed gratitude since? Here is your reminder.

There are so many things that we do every day that are privileges. Around 780 million people around the world don’t have access to an improved water source.

How many times have you turned on the sink and thought, “Is this water clean?” or “I hope there’s water today?” It is the things that we don’t think about that are sometimes the most important. The smallest things are what we should be most thankful for. The ability to read this column is enough of a reason to be thankful. Around 774 million people cannot read. Let that sink in.

These numbers are humbling, but the thing is that we have even more to be thankful for. Think about your family or friends, the roof over you, your education, access to electricity or heat or air conditioning ... if you’re lucky enough to have them. Imagine your life without just one of these things and you will realize just how blessed you are.

Everyone has something or someone to be thankful for.

So as we depart this season of Thanksgiving, let’s hold on to that thankfulness.

Let your thankfulness out of the cage… Make it your New Year Resolution to tell people how grateful you are for them all year long.

Emily Martin is a junior at North Raleigh Christian Academy in Raleigh.