A few weeks ago, I traveled to El Salvador. Going to another country like that will open your eyes to many things and I believe everyone should experience this at least once in their lives. It’s not only culturally different, but it’s also economically different too. You notice this pretty quickly as you pay for a meal or your hotel room. I stayed at a 5-star hotel in the capital city that cost $120 per day. That same hotel in the US would probably cost $240 to $300 per night. 

The other thing I noticed pretty quickly was the armed guards everywhere. Businesses pay to have armed security keeping an eye on the front door. I also observed a lot of heavily armed military men posted throughout the city. You’d pull up to a stoplight, look to your right, and see two heavily armed soldiers standing on the sidewalk with machine guns or rifles in full view. Although I personally did not see any gang-related activities during my stay, I was told that’s why the military are there. 

When you return to the United States from a trip like this, you begin to realize how blessed we are to live in a nation with so many freedoms and luxuries. I see people sitting in a coffee shop talking freely, working on their MacBooks, ordering food they get in an instant, and it dawned on me; we live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it.

Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought. We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty One Times!

Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.

We can openly and publicly pray, we can say anything we want without fear of imprisonment, we can buy anything we want, and we can choose to travel freely without having to worry about our safety. 

Several years ago I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and upon returning to the US, I just felt like everyone in America is a bunch of whining, cry-babies. I put myself into that category too because just a few days after returning to Kansas City, I found myself complaining because the Burger King drive-through was taking too long and making me wait three whole minutes to get my food. 

Every Friday morning at 9:00 am, my whole team gathers in our conference room to have a weekly team meeting. We begin each meeting by going around the table and saying something we are grateful for. We’ve been doing that for several years now and it’s one of my favorite things we do as a team. I think it’s important to stop, take just one minute out of your week, and state out loud something you’re grateful for. 

What are you grateful for?