Gratitude–the quality of being thankful–can never be overrated. When large numbers of people practice and integrate gratitude, we can most definitely create a world that we desire for ourselves and our children. It’s opposite–ingratitude–tears us apart. Gratitude is the very stuff that holds us together. So, how do we perpetuate gratitude in those who do not as easily embrace it? In the words of Emerson, give more, get more. I’ll say it once more, give more, get more.
For me gratitude does come much more easily. I’ve trained myself to look for reasons to be grateful for many years. As an elementary school teacher, I implemented an activity at the end of the day in my classroom whereby the students had to record in a journal, two things that had happened that day that they were grateful for. We did this everyday. It wasn’t easy to begin with. Many of these students came from difficult low socioeconomic backgrounds. It was hard for many of them to see anything positive in their lives or that they had anything to offer. Eventually, the assignment became easier. After doing this for a month, the change in the students and their ability to find gratitude in the smallest of acts, was amazing. And collectively, the positive energy that was created from the entire class became a tremendous force providing a sense of comfort, and confidence and joy. It was healing, it was stabilizing and it was exactly what these children needed.
This was really a simple exercise for me to utilize in my classroom. It should be this simple in society and yet gratitude is something we do not practice often enough in modern day. Are we just too busy, too distracted to show appreciation for such a basic and natural human response? I think so. We’re technologically driven and humanly detached.
This is exactly where Mark’s wonderful lesson comes into play this week. We need to become proactive with Gratitude. Gratitude needs to become the Cause and not just the Effect. Through conscious and consistent practice we can develop gratitude in others by initiating it ourselves. Tell the old man across the street how beautiful his front yard looks, whether it does or not, tell the young girl sitting at the lunch table by herself how pretty her hair looks, and tell your family and friends how amazing they are. Practice every single day and watch what happens. It’s some pretty good stuff!