Why I Am Thankful For My Parents and Family – 13 Gifts They Have Given Me

The Sharman and Anne-Marie Hummel Family

One of the blessings of getting older is to be able to reflect upon life and all that you’ve been given. As I reflect on my life, I am thankful for my parents, family, and all the gifts I have been given.

I am blessed. I have parents who have been willing to give freely to me of themselves and have, in the process, given me many life-changing gifts. My parents and family have given me the gift of sacrifice, the gift of giving, the gift of culture, the gift of independence, the gift of education, the gift of learning, the gift of thinking for myself, the gift of courage, the gift of trust, the gift of wings to fly, the gift of learning about my eternal destiny, the gift of faith and the gift of laughter.

The Gift of Sacrifice

When I think of my parents, one of the things that first comes to mind is sacrifice. My parents sacrificed a lot for my siblings and me; they went without so that we could have.

I don’t think this is the kind of sacrifice that a child can ever truly repay a parent. It is a sacrifice that is so profound and so deep that you will always be indebted to your parents because of their sacrifice for you. I will always be thankful to my parents for that sacrifice.

The Gift of Giving

I cannot count how many times my parents had somebody over to dinner because they were alone. Or how many times my parents did little acts of service to help someone they knew needed help. In fact, even today, service is still very much a part of their lives.

Today as I am writing this, my garage is filled to the brim with winter coats, blankets, and other things we have collected to give away to the hill tribe children in North Vietnam. It is getting cold here in Vietnam, and many children in the mountains do not have adequate winter coats or blankets to keep them warm throughout the winter.

I solely attribute to learning about service and what it means to give from my parents. I watched them my entire life give little acts of service to help someone in need. They never complained about doing service; instead, they were always happy to serve and help others.

This has had a huge impact on my life and how I view giving and service. I thank my parents for their willingness to serve and give to those in need; they have taught me about what it really means to give and serve others.

The Gift of Culture

My mother was born and raised in Sweden. During the holidays, our home is filled with many cultural traditions from Sweden. It is a great gift in my life to know about my ancestors and their traditions.

Our home always welcomed people from many different countries and walks of life. My father brought home many African students to have dinner with us.

From a young age, I learned to appreciate people from many countries and cultures. This gift of culture has been a great gift in my life as I have met people from all walks of life.

The Gift of Independence

One day, I was upset about something, and I wanted my mother to go to the neighbors and complain to them about something that had happened. I wanted my mother to go and fight my fight for me. But she refused and instead said that I needed to learn to handle it myself.

At the time, I was quite upset. I thought, “no, you’re my mother; you need to do it for me.” Like any good mother, she refused.

My parents taught and encouraged me to be independent. They would not fight my fights for me as they taught me to do it on my own.

I will always be thankful for them teaching me at a young age this lesson of independence. They taught me that I needed to be brave enough, even in the face of challenges, and learn to stand on my own two feet.

Life is often not fair – challenges come, but we need to learn to fight our own fights. I am thankful to my parents for teaching me this important lesson.

The Gift of Education

When I was 14 years old, I watched my mother graduate from college with her RN nursing degree. That same year she became a US citizen.

Even though I went to a high school where many of my classmates did not see the need to go to college, I always knew and understood that I would go to college. You see in our family it was never “if” you will go to college but “where” will you will go to college. So I have now graduated from college at least 3 times with an undergraduate degree and two master’s degrees.

I owe this my parents who both taught me that education and learning was an important part of life.

The Gift of Learning

I remember my father telling me I don’t care what grade you get; what I care about is what you have learned. There were many classes I took in college that I found extremely challenging. In fact, I remember one political science class that was so brutal after I took the final exam I just sat down on a bench and cried.

I had worked and studied so hard in that class. After the final exam, I knew I would probably only get a B in the class and not the A grade I was hoping for. Then I remembered what my father had taught me; he didn’t care what grade I got but cared more about what I have learned and how hard I had worked.

I have often thought about this advice. I thought about how easy it would be to take the easy classes so that you could get a good grade. It is harder to take a difficult class that challenges you.

Somehow, those difficult classes I remember most, and I learned the most from. Those tough and difficult classes taught me that I could stretch myself in ways I never knew was possible.

I am grateful to my parents, who have given me the gift of education and the gift of learning. They taught me that learning is lifelong and is about learning to stretch yourself and push yourself to do things you would not otherwise do.

The Gift of Thinking For Myself

My father listens to audiobooks all day long. This is something which I have picked up from him. Before, I listened to a lot of music, but I started listening to podcasts and audiobooks many years back.

I saw his example and realized I had a choice. I could fill my mind with learning and knowledge or listen to the latest pop song. I decided to take my father’s example and fill my mind with learning and knowledge.

My parents gave me the gift of thinking for myself. They have taught me that I can think for myself. That I can learn for myself. And that I can and should have an educated opinion.

And I do always have an opinion. Whether people agree with me or not, at least I can think for myself. I am thankful to my parents for teaching me to have an opinion and think for myself.

The Gift of Courage

When I was 17 years old, my parents allowed me to travel to Sweden to attend high school for 6 months. In fact, they encouraged me to do it.

They did not give me all the reasons why I should not go or tell me about all the bad or terrible things that could happen, but they gave me the gift of courage to encourage me to go to Sweden.

As I have traveled around the world, I have seen the great gift for a parent to give their child the gift of courage. Many people in the world are afraid to go outside their own community.

My parents encouraged me to go out and to explore and to see the world. I’m sure there must have been times when they were afraid for my safety, or they worried if I would return alive, but they always supported me and gave me the gift of courage to know that I could do or be anything.

The Gift of Trust

I learned to drive with my dad’s diesel Mercedes Benz. I am not sure why he trusted us to take out his car and allowed us to drive it – but he did.

There were times when I got into accidents that were my fault. But even then, we were trusted to drive his Mercedes.

My parents gave me the gift of trust. I knew that they trusted me as long as I lived worthy of that trust. I also knew if I broke that trust, the trust would be gone. I am thankful for them for loving me enough to trust me.

The Gift of Wings To Fly

I have spent all my adult life living and working in Asia. Many times it has been tough. Many times I have struggled. But through it, all my parents have been there to love, support me, and help me out financially when needed.

They believed in my dream. They believed in me. They helped give me wings to fly.

I cannot say Asia has always been easy. But I can say that I am a better person because of my time spent in Asia. And with a great depth of gratitude, I know I owe so much to my parents, who gave me the wings to fly and believe in me.

The Gift of Learning About My Eternal Destiny

As a child, I remember the early mornings when my mother would ring the bell to call us all to come downstairs before my father left for work so that we could kneel and say a family morning prayer. Of course, as a young child, there were many rumblings; why do we need to get up so early? Why do we have to do this?

But now, I am grateful to my parents for the foundation they gave me to know that I am a divine daughter of my Heavenly Father and that He loves me.

One of the greatest blessings of my life is that my parents taught me about my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

From a very young age, my parents taught me that I am a child of God. That teaching has helped me to know that I have a divine eternal destiny.

And because of this divine eternal destiny, I have learned that what I do in life does matter – the kind of person I am does matter – what I say does matter – what I become does matter.

The Gift of Faith

I am thankful that I grew up in a faith-filled home. I am grateful for the Sundays we all went to church together. The times we had family prayer and the times we worshipped together as a family.

I am thankful for my parents and my sisters with whom I can share my faith. I realize that this is a great blessing and that not everyone has in their lives.

I am thankful for the many lessons and foundations of faith that my parents have given me throughout my life.

The Gift of Laughter

Many times when we get together as a family, you can hear the laughter ringing out of the rooms. I have some sisters who have a pretty good sense of humor.

I am thankful that I grew up in a home where we had laughter. Laughter can literally be healing as it will release happy chemicals into your brain. Laughter creates feelings of happiness.

I am thankful that I grew up in a home where I have learned not to take myself too seriously. Sometimes, when something happens, I have been taught that I can laugh about it; I am thankful for this because it has helped me through some difficult situations to laugh about them and not cry.

I am grateful to my parents for all the gifts they have given me. I know that these 13 gifts barely scratch the surface of what I have been given. I will forever be indebted to my parents Sharman and Anne-Marie Hummel and all they have done for me in my life.

Thank you so much mom and dad – I will always love you.

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Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I live in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love to share with you about my family history and the many parts of the world our ancestors have lived.

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The Sharman and Anne-Marie Hummel Family