If you are a parent you remember trying to tell your young children to say “thank-you.” Perhaps you were even embarrassed when your child wouldn’t say thank-you or even had the audacity to say, “I don’t like that.”
Looking back at those times it isn’t hard to realize that learning to “say thanks” is different than learning to “be thankful.” When we actually feel that thankfulness inside the word “thank-you” seems to come out of our mouth more easily.
There’s a couple of reasons this might happen.
First, we humans are pretty self-centered. It is easier to notice our own pain and needs than someone else’s. That’s just the way it is. And it’s easier to just enjoy something we have, without acknowledging the person who made it possible.
Second, we just don’t know how to say it. Just yesterday someone did for me a small thing and said something to me which was very supportive. I really did appreciate it; so much so that I almost couldn’t find a way to say “thanks.”
Third – sometimes we don’t realize things for which we should be thankful. Let me illustrate. Did you know that I actually applied for the job I now have and love and didn’t get it? I must admit that I wasn’t ready to say to the interview team, “Hey, thanks, you’ve done me a favor!” But they did. I got a couple years of experience doing something which has greatly helped me in being Altru’s Hospice Chaplain once I applied a second time. I can really say – now, not before – that I’m thankful for the way things worked out.
In Hospice work I have noticed the people who are thankful for their lives and appreciative of what is done for them – these folks cope much better. Thankfulness is an attitude (and it is an attitude) which makes us happy. So, be happy – by saying “thanks.”
So, it’s almost Thanksgiving. Has anyone asked you yet, “What are you thankful for?” I will. Ask yourself what you are thankful for. Think about who you should thank, but never have, and then do it. As a way of getting our minds more thankful (and, remember, more happy) I’d like to suggest the following.
After you read this, think a bit, and, if you like, tell us something for which you are thankful. And try to be specific. Of course you are thankful for your family or your job or … but tell us why. I’ll start.
I am thankful that my adult children can have fun together, and have fun with their parents too.
I am grateful I live close to my two little grandsons.
I am thankful that all my families – my family by blood, my work family and my church family – are all loving and supportive.
YOUR TURN. Be thankful. Tell us about it. And Be Happy!