With Remembrance Day still fresh in our memories, and as the United States prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I thought it would be an apt time to draw attention to the spirit of remembrance and thankfulness that marks this time of year.
If you’ve ever attended a Thanksgiving celebration, you may be familiar with the practice of sitting around the dinner table as everyone offers something for which they are thankful; it could be your good health and wellbeing, a recent promotion at work, or simply being close with family and friends. Now, put yourself at the dinner table – what are you thankful for?
As we move ever closer to the holiday season, the temperatures are getting colder, our diaries fuller, and, if you’re like me, our bank balances smaller. Before the onset of holiday madness sets in, however, take a moment to consider the following:
- Got a roof over your head? One billion people in the world live in slums – that’s one-sixth of the world’s population.
- Have access to a bathroom or toilet? Forty percent (around 2.6 billion people) of the world’s population lack access to proper sanitation and plumbing, which spreads disease and infection.
- Is there food on your table? Approximately 790 million people in the world are classified as chronically undernourished, and almost 28% of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.
- Have a regular income? Eighty percent of humanity lives on $10 (just over £6) or less per day – this brings the world’s average income to a staggering £4,400 per year. At the same time, only 19% of the world’s population live in countries with per capita incomes at least this high.
- Are you generally in good health? Everyone, regardless of nationality, race, or income, will face illness. Restricted access to healthcare (or the complete absence thereof), however, results in 2.2 million fatalities among non-immunized children in the developing world per year.
These statistics aren’t meant to make you feel guilty – they’re just a reminder that, unlike many people around the world, most of us have a lot to be grateful for – we have food, shelter and access to the things we need to survive. Individually, you aren’t to blame for the world’s problems, but you can help to change them; after all, gratitude without action is an empty sentiment.
One thing I’ve always loved about our Client Services community is the overwhelming devotion to charity work; the commitment to seeing problems in our world (wherever that may be) and setting out to fix them. We’ve helped at soup kitchens, run marathons, climbed mountains, and organised fundraisers – small acts in isolation, but cumulatively, an inspiring movement of people trying to make a change for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Maya Angelou once said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” A beautiful mantra for this season of thanksgiving and remembrance, it also holds true throughout the year. Remember all the things you have and be grateful, and give generously so that others may thrive as you have.
David Melnick is a Marketing and Communications Manager for Mitie.