By LaKeshia N. Myers
Thanksgiving for many is the official kick-off to the winter holiday season. The holiday season for my family stretches from November until February; we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, and Mardi Gras (which ends the day before Ash Wednesday). But throughout the season, music has always been an integral part of holiday festivities for me. It has become our family tradition to have a soundtrack for each holiday. As my mother and I prepare the Thanksgiving meal for the family, we play songs from our Christmas playlists which include many holiday classics, but William
DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You Got” is always a reminder to pause and give thanks.
DeVaughn’s 1974 classic has only fifty-five words, but provides a message of hope and thanksgiving that have continued to ring true:
Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Just be thankful for what you got
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin’ in the scene
With a gangsta lean
When I hear the lyrics to this song it immediately shifts my focus. It helps me not dwell on the things I don’t have, but reflect on all of the things I am thankful for. This year, I am especially thankful for the good health of myself, my family, and friends. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my constituents in the Wisconsin legislature, it is a position I enjoy and one that allows me to serve my community. I am thankful for having my first two bills signed into law; these are measures that are sure to help the state of Wisconsin attract and retain quality educators to teach in our state’s classrooms. I am thankful for the City of Milwaukee, a city that I love deeply and one that is slowly, but surely evolving and moving in the right direction. I am also thankful to live in the United States; because even with all of its flaws, political divisiveness, and glaring inequities, the freedoms we have here are like none other.
As a society, we can become so enveloped in our personal wants and desires that we don’t take the time to stop and give thanks for all of the things we already have. No matter who you are or how bad you make think it is; there is always someone who may be experiencing something worse. Hunger, pain, hopelessness, despair, and loneliness plague many during the holiday season, while we all experience these feelings, know that the tide will turn and trouble won’t last always. Whenever you find yourself in doubt, pause and remember to just be thankful for what you’ve got.