Thanksgiving has come and gone. Only the memories remain, memories of a family get-to-gether and a delicious, big meal. The turkey, maybe the meal itself, has become a symbol of Thanksgiving.
In the hustle and bustle of preparations for Thanksgiving Day we sometimes forget what the day was meant to be for—to give thanks for having survived another year.
After years of prosperity, we have become complacent about our life of ease and abundance. Sometimes one can detect even a trace of entitlement.
Is gratitude going out of style?
I don’t think so.
Gratitude is a basic human courtesy. Cicero goes a step further, he says: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
When someone renders us a kindness, it’s not for the sake of a thank you. Yet when the recipient of the kindness shows a total lack of appreciation, it cools the giver’s heart. Why should he bother again if the recipient does not care? Indifference puts off kindness. Gratitude encourages it.
Our mothers used to ask us: “Have you written your thank you notes yet?” Today, we have cell phones and email, a great boon for showing gratitude. Perhaps it is not as formal as a written note, but it will be appreciated just the same, especially if done promptly.
Young children tend to be totally absorbed by a gift, and remain oblivious of the need to thank the giver. It is vital to teach children the art of gratitude, especially when we assume that gratitude is the parent of all other virtues.
Gratitude is at its best when it becomes part of our attitude toward life itself; when we no longer take our blessings for granted, but have gained a daily awareness of them that fills us with joy and confidence.
Grateful people radiate serenity and contentment no matter what the day may bring.
There is much to be thankful for—the beauty of this world, the food on our table, the happy face of a child, and the simple fact of being alive.
Kahil Gibran sums it up in The Prophet: “You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”
Until next time,