There once lived a watchdog named Teddy. When someone threw Teddy a piece of meat, he swallowed it immediately, without savoring, without chewing. Panting under the tropical sun, he waited for the next morsel to be tossed his way. When the meat was gone, he turned and went on his way.Teddy never expressed the slightest gratitude for what he received. No one expected him to. He was, after all, just a dog."
As to gratitude, we often expect more of humans than we do of animals.
Usually we are disappointed. Many people snatch what they can from life and look for more.
Few of us want to be hermits, or could survive as such. So we need one another.
Consequently, when our efforts to contribute to the common good are taken for granted or accepted patronizingly; when others give grudgingly the service we pay for; when we go out of our way to be kind, only to get a frown or a suspicious look; when our loving consideration for others is taken as a sign of weakness; then the chill of their ingratitude reaches into our very heart."
Has this ever been your experience?
What causes a person to be ungrateful?
It may sound rather severe, but basically it is selfishness.
There are degrees of selfishness, of course, all the way from thoughtlessness to egocentricity.
The thoughtless person may be surprised and even hurt when his failure to express gratitude is pointed out to him, but the egocentric cares nothing about it.
Either way, it is obvious that we might have here a blemish that needs our attention.
Cultivating a grateful attitude
What can we do to cultivate a grateful disposition?
First, never take any kind action for granted.
How difficult is it simply to say “thank you” and really mean it?
In some places, because of misguided tradition, people feel it is unnecessary to say, “Please” or, “Thank you.”
Next, we can heighten our appreciation of what others do for us.
A grateful person also values his relationships with family members, friends, and acquaintances.
Their acts of kindness capture his attention.
As he appreciatively considers their favors, he feels thankful at heart
Gratitude cannot be turned on and off mechanically; it must spring unprompted from within a person.
Gratitude is more than a mere display of good manners or a form of etiquette; it stems from the heart.
What a simple word “thanks” is!
It is so easy to utter such an expression.
And opportunities to do so abound.
How refreshing is a warm and sincere Thank You to someone who holds a door open for us or picks up something we have dropped!
Hearing that expression can make the job of a store clerk or a waitress at a restaurant or the mailman lighter and more rewarding.
Sending thank-you cards is a convenient way to express gratitude for acts of kindness.
Many of the cards available in stores express the sentiments beautifully.
But would it not be a loving personal touch to add words of appreciation in your own handwriting.
That is why some even prefer to omit a printed card, sending instead a personal note.
Likely, those most deserving of our gratitude are the ones closest to us at home.
Are not a husband’s heartfelt expressions of thanks to his wife conducive to a home environment of peace and contentment?
And is not the husband also glad to come home to a warm and appreciative greeting from his wife?
These days, the pressures on marriage are many, and when pressures mount, tempers flare easily.
The one of grateful disposition is ready to make allowances and is quick to overlook and forgive.
For seven days a week a wife may be shopping, washing, preparing meals, cleaning, caring for the children.
A marathon of a job!
Do we show, by deeds as well as in words, that we appreciate her?
Or, with the passing of the years, have we come to take her efforts rather for granted?
Have you asked yourself recently, Are my expressions of appreciation adequate for all that she does to make our home a haven from the harsh world outside?
On the other hand, do those of us who are wives show that we appreciate to the full our husband’s efforts under the tough and often discouraging conditions that he faces every day in the working world?
In these days when many wives go out to work, there is extra pressure.
The many household chores have to be crammed into evenings and weekends.
Sometimes one of the casualties is gratitude.
Tired people tend to have short tempers and little time for the courtesies and kindnesses of life.
In such circumstances there has to be a readiness for all in the family to make allowances and be forgiving.
And what about gratitude to our children?
How rewarding it is to watch them grow in body and mind, respond to training and care; to see them apply themselves to their chores because you have taught them that they are part of the family team; to sense their trust and confidence in you; to feel their loving arms around your neck as you kiss them good-night."
Yes, there are plenty of reasons to be grateful to our children.
Therefore parents should look for opportunities to commend their children rather than resort to nagging them about trivialities.
Children too need to be conscious to offer their parents heartfelt expressions of appreciation.
Of course, parents are not perfect, but that is no reason to be ungrateful for what they have done for you.
The love and attention that they have given since your birth cannot be purchased
Outside the family, our colleagues at work and the many who provide services of various kinds all contribute to our well-being.
So we should be grateful for what they do too.
Usually we can show some kindness in return.
It might be as simple as a smile or a warm “thank you.”
The main thing is not to be so busy or preoccupied that we neglect to register genuine appreciation.
Show that, quite apart from any payment involved, you value what was done for you and the spirit in which it was done.
Doing so will make others happy, and that is a fine objective to have in life.
Likewise today, how many people are unseeing and ungrateful? Could you be one of them?
A grateful heart adorns the person.
It brings peace and satisfaction to the one who cultivates it.
It enhances the personality.
“Thank you” are two simple words that warm the heart.
So express gratitude generously in both word and deed.