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We are a nation of spoiled brats.

We have daily miracles at our fingers tips, and all we can do is complain.

Push a button, and heat comes on. Flip a switch, and you have light. Turn a handle, and hot or cold water gushes forth. Imagine what folks would have thought about this 100 years ago.

For a small fee, people will haul away your garbage, provide you with endless clean water, and assure the continuation of your electricity, telephone and Internet.

Feel like talking to friends or relatives 3,000 miles away? Rather than waiting six months for a letter, you merely press a few buttons and voila – instant communication.

Feel sick? You can visit a doctor who can look inside your body without hurting you. He can use marvelous diagnostic tools to determine what’s wrong. He’s even unlikely to apply leeches to balance your humors. How amazing is that?

Feel hungry? Walk into any football field-sized grocery store and take your pick from tens of thousands of food items. You didn’t have to milk a single cow, grow a single vegetable or grind a single grain of wheat. Others did that for you. (My Russian sister-in-law nearly wept the first time she set foot inside an American grocery store.)

Feel like going somewhere? You don’t have to hitch up the horses and travel for hours through inclement weather. You can hop in your car or take public transportation.

Feel unsafe? Not to worry, there are thousands of soldiers thanklessly laboring in foreign countries under dangerous circumstances to protect you. This is in addition to all the domestic police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other emergency personnel whose sole duty it is to protect or take care of you.

We can fly through the air, for crying out loud. For how long has mankind longed to fly? Now we can do it anytime we wish.

When nature calls, we don’t have to trudge outside in subzero weather and freeze our fannies in an outhouse. Nor is our public health endangered from water contaminated by human waste. Only by reading about the horrors of such diseases as cholera or dysentery can we appreciate the freedom from such conditions.

We can know what’s happening on the other side of the planet within seconds. We can purchase consumer goods from any country in the world. Where is our appreciation for these miracles?

I no longer fear my children will die of smallpox, the plague, scarlet fever or malnutrition before they reach maturity. Instead, I can look forward to someday seeing my grandchildren because my girls, unlike earlier generations, are likely to make it to adulthood.

Though we are the daily recipients of these and other amazing miracles, what do we do? We complain. We could be suffused in awe and appreciation for all these wonders, but noooOOOOoooo. None of this abundance is good enough. We want more, we want better, we want newer. We want the government to give us stuff for free, stuff like health care and housing, food and employment. These are things that earlier generations knew were our own personal responsibility to provide for ourselves.

Instead we prefer to whine and gripe and moan our way to socialism because we’ve become a nation of professional victims.

How about we put things into perspective? If we counted our blessings as often as we carped about our problems, we would be overwhelmed with gratitude. Read that last line again because it’s important.

Sometimes it seems that all we do is complain. Our jobs, our spouse, our kids, our finances, our politicians (OK, I’ll grant this is often justified), the economy, the weather, the traffic, the credit card bills, the car payments, the run in your pantyhose, the ding in your car, the malfunctioning CD player, the long lines at the mall, the waiter who forgot your bread rolls …

Stop! Take a deep breath, and count your blessings for once.

In a world plagued by illiteracy, your children can read and write. In a world plagued by people living in cardboard boxes, you live with indoor plumbing. In a world plagued by diseased children running naked through the streets, your kids are warm and well fed and clothed. And yet we gripe when our Internet service is interrupted, when the traffic light turns red or when we didn’t get the diamond earrings or big-screen TV we “really wanted” for Christmas.

You see where I’m going with this? When we complain, we forget about our blessings. I’m sure anyone who has ever traveled to Bangladesh or the Sudan came home overwhelmed by their good fortune. Or maybe not. Maybe they complained that the high-speed Internet service on the airplane wasn’t fast enough or their luggage was delayed at the baggage carousel.

To quote this YouTube clip, everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. We live in an incredible world, and it’s wasted on us. How quickly we have come to think the world owes us something. Why are we no longer falling down in gratitude for our prosperity and relative affluence?

In fact, it’s our prosperity and affluence – and the loss of a strong religious foundation – that’s caused us to forget our blessings. When you raise spoiled brats, they’re unlikely to learn to appreciate simple truths such as moral character, a work ethic and gratitude.

Geez, folks, grow up. Stop acting like spoiled brats. Look around you. Learn to be grateful to God. And if God isn’t “your thing,” then at least be grateful for your freedom and those who fought and died to give you the opportunity to act like jerks. In this upcoming year of economic uncertainty, make a resolution to stop taking it all for granted.

Happy New Year.

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