This content is also available in: Vietnamese
Literal Translation: Having [something] is better than [having] nothing. English Equivalent: Count your blessings.
Having been born and raised in Canada, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving. My dad made the best turkey dinner ever, as anyone who has tasted his food would happily tell you.
On Thanksgiving morning, our family would be busily cleaning the house and preparing the big dinner with a 12-pound turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, and roasted ham. We would have two or three families over in the evening. Parents would chatter away over beer downstairs while the kids threw on a movie and watched upstairs. Later on I would discover that this is a celebration uncommon to Vietnamese immigrant families – my dad himself picked up the tradition from his Irish-Canadian sponsors who he stayed with until he was 18.
Thanksgiving is a day to feast and celebrate and to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest. Appropriately, our October proverb urges you to be grateful for what you have. Having a lot versus having enough all boils down to perspective. As kids we’ve all come across the iconic question of whether we perceived the cup of water as half empty or half full. Our answers would determine whether we were an optimist or a pessimist. A study by psychologist Suzanne C. Segerstrom found that 10 years after graduating, law students who were optimistic earned an average of $32,667 more than their pessimistic peers.
Seeing the glass as half full actually made respondents happier, healthier and wealthier. On the other hand, across cultures, fables warn readers about greed. In The Golden Star Fruit Tree, the greedy elder brother fell to his death after he took so much gold from the island that the raven who flew him back wasn’t able to carry him. King Midas wished that everything he touched turned to gold and to his despair turned his beloved daughter into a lump of gold as well. This Thanksgiving, be grateful for what you have. Even though it may not be a lot, it’s just enough.