Starting from the gift of life, parents impart values, experiences, and attitudes that will shape their children for the rest of their lives. Now in his early twenties, Kensu has gone from receiving care to giving care to his mom and reflected on the attitudes he has been able to foster in himself thanks to his parents. This is his story.

My mom has had to go through many difficulties with her health after suffering from kidney failure. Physically, every day can be a challenge. But even in these challenges, as her son, she has given me the gift of gratitude and the ability to take on a positive attitude in spite of the difficulties.

For instance, the first time I went to the emergency room with my mom, I was frightened by what was happening and I didn’t know what to do. In the ambulance, I didn’t know how to feel. The day after going into the emergency room and then being admitted to the hospital, I went home and went back and what I saw changed how I looked at challenges in life. Walking into the room my mom was slightly sitting up and what I saw was a smile of gratitude in knowing she has family who is there for her. Through that, I knew she was feeling a little better but it also gave me the experience to learn what gratitude is.

Through these experiences, I think of it as a kind of attitude “restart.” In difficult times it can be easy to get absorbed in self-pity. But when I see how people like my mom, who has to face daily challenges but still finds time to think of and serve others, I am reminded to look beyond my own limitations and face them as an opportunity for a new start.

Even when she couldn’t walk anywhere, she would make food for others and ask me to deliver it to our neighbors. She always tries to give with a smile on her face.

Like many great mothers, mine taught me to not sulk in the disadvantages of life, but to be grateful for what I already had and use my advantages, skills, knowledge, time and energy to benefit the people and community around me.

There is good in every situation.