Being thankful is or should be a big part of the holiday season. As Americans, we all have so much for which to be thankful — and most of us know it. We might gripe and complain, but deep down we know we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Still others are so angry about everything — from the person who cut in front of them in traffic or in line at the store to the presidential election results — that they spew divisiveness. People’s attitudes are contagious. Whether they are positive or negative, people spread their points of view and infect us all.

We all have a choice: Be a force for good or go the other way. The Thanksgiving season is a wonderful time to step back and reflect on what really matters to each of us individually and collectively and to be thankful for everything from our health and our friends and family to our jobs, the weather and everything in-between. Some people are better than others at seeing the proverbial cup as half-full rather than half-empty. Those positive people will succeed while the others will move down the path of doom they predict is just around the corner.

One thing we all need to appreciate and be thankful for is that we don’t always get our way. It is a good thing to struggle and to make mistakes. Those struggles and mistakes help each of us to become stronger and to find meaning beyond the struggle. Oftentimes, the loudest complainers are the ones who have the most to be thankful for.

Resiliency — also known as the ability to bounce back — is the focus of a story in the USA Weekend newspaper supplement in today’s Ottawa Herald. Those who have things come to them too easily (and without struggle or earning it) might take whatever “it” is for granted. Perhaps Americans have become too soft and have gotten so accustomed to getting our way without much effort that we don’t know how to handle adversity when it arrives. Perhaps we even think of situations as adversity when they merely are a bump in the road that with little effort can be overcome.

That’s a lesson Franklin County residents on both sides of the aisle should be able to appreciate after last week’s elections.

Today each of us should put ourselves to the test and see if we can’t find the silver lining in our lives, rather than just thinking of the cloud hanging over us. The sunshine is there if we just look hard enough for it.

— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher