The Art of Being Thankful

Last night, I was feeling all serious and thought I would write today’s post about the art of being thankful.  We’ve had a lot of craziness going on around here with earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods- Oh My!  I was thinking of how grateful I was that we were not seriously affected by any of those.  Then I thought about how easy it is to be thankful when things are going well, but I will be the first to admit that when the going gets rough, I start complaining.   And I’m not talking about rough meaning serious illness or natural disaster.  I start complaining when I step on a toy in the middle of the floor (why can’t those kids pick up after themselves?) or there’s dirty dishes that need to be cleaned (why hasn’t anyone put away the clean dishes in the dishwasher?)!  If asked, I will state that I have everything I need and more.  In fact, I have more than a person deserves or can even expect.  I have everything to be thankful for.  So, why don’t I act like it?

It all boils down to this:  We are born ingrates.  We start crying about everything that bothers us from the moment we are born and just because we grow up and become adults doesn’t mean that we do that any less.  We just hide it better.  Or not, depending on your temperament.  At the same time, I’m trying to get my kids to stop complaining, I am complaining myself.  Only, I don’t really think of that at the time.  Sigh.  The more I parent, the more I realize that I’m still growing up.

Yesterday, was my youngest son’s birthday and we were talking to him about why it was important for him to thank everyone who wished him a good day or gave him something.  When we thank a person, we acknowledge that we don’t deserve what we are getting from them or we are being polite and treating people with the same respect and care that they are showing us.   We told him he should be thankful, even if the gift he gets is not something he really wanted.  It occurred to me that I should be applying this to myself as well.  No one ever promised me that I would get everything I wanted in life.   Can I heed my own instruction and be grateful, even if what I get is not something I really wanted–like a leaky roof or a tree on my car?  Can I, as most preschoolers are taught, take what I get and not get upset?  Really, sometimes I think there is no hope for me.

But, there is.  At least I know that I’m ungrateful.  If I can learn to step outside of my selfish little world, one moment at a time, perhaps, over the course of years, I will become a more grateful person.  I’d like that, because I think that people who are grateful are also content.  A content person is more able to ride the storms of life without losing themselves in the process.   A content person, might be grateful, even for the legos left on the floor.   What are your thoughts?

Well, sorry to be so serious today.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my cutie on his 6th birthday, having fun at the fair yesterday.

If that isn’t something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is.

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Posted on September 1, 2011, in Thankfulness. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I needed to hear this message today…preach it girl!

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