On the Season of Gratitude

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” ~ H.U. Westermayer

Parenting educator Steven Glynn has an interesting definition of abundance. Glynn says

“If when you get up in the morning you have a choice of what to eat, a choice of what to wear, a job to go to and a way to get there, in terms of the population of the world, you have abundance.”

Glynn’s definition of abundance puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

I found the following two definitions on Dictionary.com:

Attitude – A state of mind or a feeling; disposition

Gratitude – The state of being grateful; thankfulness.

I like that. Attitude is a state of mind, and gratitude is a state of being.

You’ll be hearing a lot in the coming weeks about gratitude and the importance of having “an attitude of gratitude.”

And then by the first of the year it will pass.

I don’t like that. Here are a few ideas to take gratitude from a state of mind into being a long-term state of mind and then into consistent action.

Grati-List – Make a list of everything and everyone for whom you are grateful. Write until you run out of things to write about. Then I recommend you do two things with this list:

1. Keep it handy, in a place where you can regularly see it. We all need the reminder.
2. Keep adding to it. This keeps gratitude in the present and the future.

I was telling my son recently about Mrs. Orlowski, an 8th grade teacher who pulled me aside one day when I was hanging with the wrong crowd and getting in more and more trouble. Her words were something like “You are not like those boys. You have so much creativity, talent and potential. Don’t waste it.”

You should have seen her face when I stopped by Glenridge Junior High School in my early 30’s to thank her.

Grati-Call – Call someone to whom you are grateful. Tell them specifically what you are grateful for and the difference they have made in your life.

Grati- eMail – Email someone to whom you are grateful. Having it in writing means much. I have printed out emails that thanked me for certain things. Some are on the wall in my office, some are in a file. They are great reminders.

Grati-Coma – That state of being after you eat a huge Thanksgiving meal and right before you fall asleep while watching football.

Grati-Letter – Remember letters? They still exist. They still work. And they make quite an impression in this world of easy and instant communication. They can become someone’s treasures.

Grati-Action – In addition to those mentioned above, what actions can you take on a consistent basis to demonstrate your gratitude? How can you demonstrate you understand that “yours is a life of great privilege?” In a tough economy, in any economy, there are always those who have it tougher than you. What actions can you take on a regular basis to help out? It’s a great way to model gratitude for your kids, too.

Grati-Life – To whom and what is your life saying thank you? One of my favorite groups Switchfoot offers us these lyrics: “This is your life, are you who you want to be?”

Thank you for being a faithful follower of this blog.

Go use this stuff!
ThanksGiving 2008


About The Author

Jeff Herring

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