Southern Gratitude

When someone does something nice for you, you thank them. Momma taught me that as a child and made sure it stuck as I got older. It’s called gratitude, and it’s a lost art. Most of you probably know that, and are shaking your heads because you think I’m talking about the kids.

You’re wrong.

Well, kids struggle with it too, but how can you blame young people for not learning something that has to be taught by parents? Adults have forgotten the art of the Thank You. It’s a simple skill. Just say “Thanks” when someone holds the door open for you, wave when someone lets you over on the interstate, or write a note to someone showing appreciation for the gift they gave you, and you have shown gratitude. Seems simple, right? Then tell me, why is it so rare?

Gratitude has been replaced by entitlement. People have confused gifts and kindnesses with their “rights”. They think that they are supposed to have these things, that they are owed them. The saddest part about this situation is that most people don’t even realize it. This is saddest because they were never taught gratitude.

Parents, teach your children to be thankful for what they have and for what they are given. The best way you can teach this is by your own actions. The old adage holds true that actions speak louder than words. Children learn by watching and imitating.

My wife is an excellent example of this. When she is given a gift, she writes a thank you note to the giver. This note is more than just a simple “Thank you for the _______. I appreciate it.” kind of letter. She has actually gotten thank you notes for her thank you notes! Why does she do this? She does it because her mother did it and still does. Her mother does it because her mother did it and still does. I never knew my wife’s great-grandmother, but I would bet that she wrote thank you notes as well.

My first child, a girl, will be born this May. I have wondered how I will be as a father. I hope I won’t be terrible, and if I am conscious about my words and actions, I won’t be. For those wondering, yes, I will have these blogs printed out and on hand, so I won’t become, or raise, the people about whom I rant.

The Bible tells of three things that will last when all else fails: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest is Love. Most people mistake love as a romantic Valentine’s Day thing, but you’re wrong again. God is love. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13, what is mostly referred to as the “love chapter” and read at weddings, does not include the word “love” in the King James version. It says charity, which has the definition: “The voluntary giving of help to those in need.”

Charity is caring for others. Is this not also love? If you care for others, and “do unto other as you would have done to you,” would this not include showing gratitude? Therefore, showing gratitude is showing love. The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is like it: love others.

Peace. Love. Roll Tide

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