Commentary: A time to give thanks

Set aside the political rhetoric. Look inside your hearts instead. Be thankful for a roof over your head, your job, your family and friends, and most importantly, your health.

DeLynn Howard

In this season of thankfulness, I wanted to share a few things I’m grateful for, things that may not have been as obvious to me in years past.

I’m thankful for our medical community who is literally fighting for our lives during this global pandemic. Don’t get me wrong. I was extremely grateful to the doctors and nurses who assisted both of my parents prior to their deaths, but COVID-19 is a whole new ball game, one that as a community we can help with. And with that, I’m thankful for the members of our community who wear masks and practice social distancing, who understand the importance of it and recognize it has nothing to do with being an American or having our freedoms taken away. It has everything to do with protecting each other the best way we can and doing it unselfishly.

I’m grateful for the offering of COVID-19 saliva tests in Crow Wing County so I didn’t have to watch my 10-year-old daughter freak out by having her nasal passages swabbed. As she and I sat in my car last week spitting into small tubes to be tested, I couldn’t help but think of one of my mom’s favorite sayings when things weren’t always going so great. She’d say, “Hey, at least we’re making memories.”

I’m thankful for an employer who allows and encourages its employees to work from home during this health crisis. I’m thankful for my co-workers in the newsroom who are constantly working diligently to give our readers the truth in everything they produce. I’m thankful for the subscribers who support us and understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish.

I’m thankful for my daughter’s fifth grade teachers at Forestview (and all others in education trying to maneuver through distance learning). I’ve always thought teachers were underpaid. COVID-19 proves it. What these wonderful educators are trying desperately to do for our children is heroic in many ways. I’m thankful for their knowledge, creativity and, most of all, their patience. I know they want nothing more than to see our kids in their classrooms, smiling and raising their hands to participate. They’re doing the best they can with what they have to work with. Please be supportive and thank them if you have the opportunity to do so.


I’m thankful for Wi-Fi which gives my daughter the ability to do distance learning and allows me to work from home as well.

I want to thank the essential workers in grocery and convenience stores who are doing what they can to keep food and products on the shelves. Thank you to the employees of places like Instacart and DoorDash. Because of them, people who don’t feel comfortable or can’t go out are still able to get the things they need and want.

And thanks to my beloved parents who raised me to be a good person, to think for myself but to know when to listen to others smarter than me.

Lately, we have become so divided and angry in this community, state and country. That division and anger has changed many. I can’t believe some of the things I’ve heard and read from people I thought I knew. How did we even get to this place? Why has a global pandemic become a political battle? This virus doesn’t care if you’re liberal or conservative. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. It makes my heart hurt in so many ways. At a time when we should be coming together and helping each other, we are fighting instead.

I hope and pray people have a change of heart in this season of thanks. There are so many things to focus your time and energy on besides arguing about mask wearing or who won the election. Set aside the political rhetoric. Look inside your hearts instead. Be thankful for a roof over your head, your job, your family and friends, and most importantly, your health.

I remain thankful for these things and so much more.

DeLynn Howard is the newsroom receptionist and special publications coordinator for the Brainerd Dispatch. She can be reached at 218-855-5850 or
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