Gratitude when genuinely expressed, draws people to you and makes life more enjoyable for both the giver and receiver. We all like to be appreciated. It is a basic emotional need.
Sometimes with those we love and live with, we have a tendency to take each other for granted and not appreciate the little things they do for us.
When you read the “about me” page, you will see I adopted four teens from poverty backgrounds. We adopted one of our sons, Alex, when he was fifteen from Brazil. He verbalized his gratitude from the moment he came. After every meal as he got up to take his dish in the kitchen, he’d say, “Thank you mom for dinner.”
When we adopted my daughter at age fourteen from Colombia, after watching his example she began to do the same. Fixing dinner is a lot of work, shopping, preparing and cleaning up and it always made it worth it to hear the thanks.
Now that my daughter is grown, she has taught her 2 ½ year old son to say thank you. Whenever he asks me for water or a “nana” or something from the refrigerator, he says, “ta ta.” He is already a delight to me and this endears my heart to him even more.
In recent years, I’ve learned to express more gratitude, to thank my family for every day chores; when my son fills the water jug for me; when my kids clean the bathroom or help in the kitchen; to express gratitude to a helpful sales clerk. The more I do it, the more of a habit it becomes and I enjoy doing it.
In addition, when you have a conflict to address with someone, it’s good to start with what you appreciate about them and what is good about them. This approach lets them know you value and care about them. It is easier to work through the conflict if you know the other person cares for you.
When you express gratitude, both you and the other person feel good so why not do it more? I invite and challenge you to express your appreciation for little and big things to your family, friends and others who cross your path. You’ll be glad you did.
…”give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
What about you? What has been your experience in expressing gratitude? How can you grow in this? Share with us in the comments below.