Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Things I'm Thankful For About America As An Outsider

I'm diverging from my usual relationship posts this Thanksgiving season. There's much to be thankful for about America as someone who was born in another country and I wanted to write a list and share it with you. This is an appreciation of what America has meant to me:
  1. You really can be anything and anyone you want to be! America rewards smart determination - it has rightfully earned the "land of opportunity" label. I have tons of friends who have lived their wildest success dreams because they worked hard and smart and dared to knock on doors that 'seemed' closed.
  2. Americans do not let tragedies define them - they turn sorrow into action and benefit others in the process. I'm always touched by parents who start foundations in honor of a lost child, widows and widowers who take up causes to honor their late loved one and a nation that refuses to give up in adversity.
  3. The American people are life changers around the world through their generosity with time and monetary donations to alleviate disease, poverty and hunger.
  4. America is one of the most diverse countries in the world and despite our constant gripes, it has less discrimination on average than other European nations with similar diverse populations. I traveled extensively in as part of a gospel ensemble and got to meet Americans of all types and creeds besides living in two states.  Most Americans I've met care about the content of my heart and not how I look - unless of course its a fellow woman and we bond over shoes!
  5. America is one of the few countries that rebuilds other countries after wars and thank God for NASA! I sure don't want a big asteroid making landfall unknown :)
  6. I'm thankful for some American parenting experts that taught me disciplining a child without building a relationship results in their rebellion.
  7. American children had the highest scores on confidence, add my two little sons to that score! I'm thankful that most parents teach their children not to cower in fear about the future but to approach it with hope, ideas, dreams and a determination to succeed.
  8. I'm very thankful for freedom of religion even when some religions and practices go against established norms.
  9. I'm thankful for American innovative technology that is changing the world and improving lives in Africa. Some IT corporations are doing incredible work in collaboration with innovative African IT specialists to blanket the continent with satellite, wireless and green technology.
  10. I'm thankful for strong spirited arguments in favor of the consumer and a justice system that more often than not listens to the average person.
  11. I'm thankful for the American Church that reaches around the world sharing God's love and changes lives through instilling hope, building hospitals, building schools, caring for orphans, widows and the ostracized. Most missionaries are a special breed of people!
  12. Last but not least, I'm thankful for the strong spirited American black woman who has taught me as an African woman not to give up and to always keep a song in my spirit knowing that God will make it a brighter day tomorrow! They have fascinated me since I got those warm hugs in our first gospel tour in '94 and heard the phrase 'Child, God's gonna make it alright!"
What are you thankful for about America? I'm aware about the opposite argument to every point I listed above but I wanted to focus on the positive in this post. We never get to say thank you to our host nation, we often complain and yet we have a chance to just get out - ouch! So what's your opinion about my post? You have a right to it you know?