Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Are You Grateful For And How Do You Show It?

turkey day bentoImage by gamene via Flickr

Thanksgiving is next week and there are turkeys and pumpkins galore decorating the walls of my school.  Many classes are busy having the children list the things they are thankful for and I was interested to note as I walked by one kindergarten class, that there was frequent mention of Mom and Dad, closely followed by God and Jesus.  This is a public school mind you, but it doesn't keep the children from talking about their faith.  Then, I was talking with a fifth grade teacher who told 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 we didn't wait for Thanksgiving to roll around to list our blessings? What if we all made sure to notice the people in our lives and thanked them for their contributions, EVERYDAY? 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.

The idea of keeping a gratitude journal is very popular lately.  Here's a twist on that idea.  Pick someone you care about and secretly keep a daily journal about things about them that you are grateful for. At the end of a year, give them the journal.  The amazing thing about doing this is that it will not only encourage them, it will transform you and your relationship.  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?


  1. Lynne, how inspiring is the story of the boy who affirms his teacher daily by saying, “Thank you for teaching me today!” Wow, that’s unusual for children these days, don’t you think?

    On giving thanks every day… wonder why our culture sets aside a certain time of year for thanksgiving (as though that’s the one and only day we should practice giving thanks).

    Same with Christmas…it seems that the holiday season is the only time our culture focuses on giving to charities and feeding the needy and furnishing toys and clothes to disadvantaged children. Why don’t we give thanks every day (as you suggested) and serve the needy year round? What a different world we would see!

  2. Debra, it is unusual but it is true story! What a wonderful caring person he will certainly grow up to be. I agree totally with the idea that thanksgiving should be daily. Thanks for commenting!

  3. That's why life is itself a teacher, we learn everyday. That fifth grade boy is also teaching us lessons of gratitude. We should be thankful to him as well. People ignore it. Nice write up. :)

  4. I always smile when I hear true stories like this. Sometimes it seems that the world has become such a cold and ungrateful place, it only takes one person to do something as simple as show appreciation or gratitude and that reaffirms my beliefs that we aren't a lost cause. There are just some that haven't caught up yet - keep spreading the good feeling stories they are marvelous.

  5. @shreya I love that... Life is a teacher. So true!

    @S-J there are still lots of great stories out there! Sometimes I think there is too much focus on the negative so that is all we see.

    Thanks as always for the comments.

  6. It's uplifting to hear stories of polite educated religious-minded youngsters making a difference so early in life; the world would be a much better place if this was the norm. A gratitude journal is a wonderful idea...Loved the pic!!

  7. I try ..note the word TRY to every time i pass someone during the day is to look up and smile...just a simple thing.....maybe that person will look up and smile at someone else and in essence we change one person at a time and give thanks...

  8. It is through my actions and speech and not just for that one spacial day but to use it everyday of my life.

  9. Loved this! Each day I count my blessings. I'm thankful for the good and the bad. What I'm most thankful for is breaking my leg in February sking. The blessing behind it was/is the success of my business. Each day I make a point to make each person feel that they are special.

  10. @Bongo I love your concept of pass it on. What a difference you are making in what seems a little thing.
    @sparklemezen You are such a blessing in your consistent positive approach to life
    @sea green natural--I am intrigued by your example of breaking your leg being a blessing. I'm actually working on my next post which will address the blessings found in what at first seems a disappointment or tragedy.
    Thanks for the comments all!