The ‘American’ Perspective – Live with Gratitude

Sharpie & Ink on handmade watercolor paper

It is week three in our fifty week calligraphy challenge and the prompt was perspective. Interestingly enough I was having a conversation with someone and during our discussion they noted that our perspective was a very American perspective, as other countries would not see things the same way. As I ran errands this morning I thought more on ‘the American perspective’ and what it was all about. When I sat down in my studio I knew I had to somehow use words to illustrate ‘the American perspective’.

I wrote a list of words I would use or have heard used to describe Americans, some being more flattering than others. We have many family members who have come to this country from another place, they are first generation citizens. Their perspective is also an American one, and yet their work ethic and devotion to this place is deeper than most of us who were born here. We are a rough and tumbled bunch, sometimes messy and loud, a bit arrogant and adventurous. We applaud innovation and self-sufficiency while championing the right to vote and freedom of speech. Most of us are here because somewhere in our heritage someone wanted a better chance at life, so they packed up and moved to the land of milk and honey.

Having traveled and growing up with people from other places, I have seen the blessings and curses our country provides. I also know that our perspective is not the same as or anywhere close to those of people from other countries. We forget our abundance and take for granted our freedoms. We cry out when something we don’t like hits the internet forgetting that next week there will be more to complain about…while we still live free and in abundance. I know that I am tainted by my American perspective and today I was reminded that the good, the bad and the ugly about how and where we live still makes me proud to be an American.

So I give three cheers for ‘the American perspective’ and give thanks I was blessed to grow up here. I feel pride and joy when I see my family that have been citizens for decades AND I work hard to remember that not everyone has my same perspective. And isn’t that what being an American is all about? Living with and relating to people who all have a heritage that started somewhere else? We are all just mutts and jumbles from decades of arrivals and traditions mixed into one great mixing bowl. It’s a good thing, a great feast, and a blessing that today I am reminded to live with gratitude.

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