I was talking recently with a fifth grade teacher who was telling me about a student in her classroom. "He is such a wonderful and polite boy," she said. "Every day when he leaves my class he says, 'Thank you for teaching me today.'" This got me to thinking about what we could all learn from this fifth grader and his attitude of gratitude.
What if EVERYDAY we all made sure to notice the people in our lives and thanked them for their contributions? What if EVERYDAY we made sure to notice the many blessings in our lives and thanked God for the abundant life we have? I think this is a life changing concept. Firstly, it encourages those around us. Think how encouraged this teacher is with the simple action of this student expressing his appreciation. I could tell from our conversation that this lifts her spirits each day. Secondly, this positive attitude on the part of the student must encourage him to excel in his studies and reach for his goals. An attitude of gratitude not only empowers those that we thank, but it also changes us. When we are grateful and express that, it changes our focus. We develop a positive attitude. We are strengthened and motivated. We are encouraged. Don't you think this is what the author of I John 3:18 meant when he said, "Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them and show it by our actions. Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side." Each day as we develop an attitude of gratitude, we are bringing light to a dark world. We are encouraging and empowering not only others but ourselves in the process. Who would have thought a fifth grade boy could have been such an example to us all?