When my now 16-year-old grandson Mac was much younger, I tried to always remind him to say “thank you” whenever someone did him a service or a kindness. It seemed like I was reminding him every few minutes, every day. He once asked me why he had to do that EVERY TIME!!!! I said because he needed to learn how to be thankful.
But I wonder now if that really is what thankfulness is all about. It seems a little too easy – maybe a little too shallow. (Of course he was just a little boy!)
As we grow and mature, maybe our gratitude should grow with us. Or should I say deepen and spread out like roots and branches on a tree.
Being thankful is more than just quickly responding to things or words being handed to us usually because we request them. That is the tip top of the iceberg of gratitude.
Let’s start with being given life itself. Can we be thankful for being born, maybe in a family, maybe in a community or a village? How about friends, colleagues, buddies and coworkers? Do we not treasure our parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, teachers, mentors and heroes?
How do we express gratitude for all that has been given to us, that we don’t even deserve? Our physical, mental, emotional and psychological strengths that were handed to us at birth and molded by our experiences, the love, the support, the laughter, the discipline, the education we absorbed from our surroundings – where are the words to express the depth of gratitude we feel?
To be honest, there are not enough words in any language to fully say “thank you” for a true gift such as a whole life.
The big, the small . . . every gift has its importance. And each requires more than a nod or a handshake to be truly appreciated.
Thankfulness can be learned and taught . . . and should be! Mostly it is taught by the act of doing, as we elders know.
I think the first step to deep thankfulness is to treasure the gift. Give it honor. Don’t waste it.
Use the gift joyfully and to its fullest potential. Be proud of it.
Tell the giver how you are using the gift. Do this often. Communicate in any way possible.
Protect the gift. Don’t let others dishonor it, sully it, belittle it or steal it.
When it is time, share the gift with others. If possible, give the gift to a younger one and teach them to use it.
This is true thankfulness!! Pass it on!!