Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thankful Thursdays: Gratitude

I'm starting a series this month. I've asked friends to submit their thankful posts and I've decided to share them on Thursdays throughout the month of November.

November is a time we reflect on our blessings. It's the norm for many. Some people do a post a day on social media (who am I kidding? It's all about Facebook - we know that - right?), others take stock of their thankfuls and blog about them. I've kind of combined the two.

gratitude, thanks, Thanksgiving, friendship, connection, full heart, blessings

Today I introduce you to my new friend Beth Ann. Beth Ann and I have not yet met face-to-face, but she recently relocated to North Carolina and a mutual friend of ours connected us so she'd have a friend near her new home. We don't exactly live near one another but we've become fast friends. I'm thrilled she was interested in guest posting for me and I hope you'll give her a warm welcome.

Gratitude - Key To Living

To be ungrateful is sinful. It is a failure to repay a moral debt. There are degrees of ungratefulness. 

The first degree is to neglect to return a favor. The second degree is to take no notice of the favor. The lowest degree in ingratitude is to fail to even admit to oneself that a favor has been given. 

We are all familiar with ungrateful people – people who accept favors as if they were theirs by right, people who never thank anyone for favors, and people who never return a favor. Such people are like sands in the workings of a fine watch. They grate on other people’s feelings and remove the pleasure from human relationships and love. Saint Thomas in My Way of Life Gratitude is key in my life. I truly believe that everyone, no matter what their station or situation in life, has something to be grateful for. We often equate gratefulness or thankfulness to material possessions. The more “things” that one has the more gratitude one should have. I know that for me it is easy to be thankful when my belly is full and my bank account has money but I have seen many folks in dire situations that are extremely thankful.

We always tried to teach the boys when they were young to say thank you. The effect of a simple thank you can carry great weight and it always impressed me when we lived in North Carolina when they were growing up how polite children were. They were raised to say thank you. It was automatic to say “Yes Ma’am” and “No, Sir”. It was a normal response and to this midwestern girl it was welcomed and I tried to teach our boys to be as polite as possible.

My brother in law, Carlton, is a work in progress just like the rest of us. Over the years when the health of his folks deteriorated he spent more and more time on his own and one of the results of that was a lessening of some social skills that he had always had. When we moved in after his dad’s death it was obvious to me that he needed a bit of behavior modification in that area and so I put my social work hat on and tried to transform some of his manners. Well, we all know how well it works when you try to change someone. It doesn’t. But what I wanted was to get Carlton to simply say thank you again. When he was complimented on how nice he looked he would respond “I know.” When someone was nearing a door that needed to be opened he stood back and did nothing. When he was given a present he would ooh and ahhh but have to be reminded to say thank you.

It is those simple acts that I believe can make a huge difference. That is why I was so adamant that Carlton should try to remember to do those things again. As an adult with Down Syndrome he already has enough challenges and I wanted him to be able to appreciate and respond appropriately to situations he might find himself in. As we watched him open his birthday presents recently over webcams we noticed that that politeness and gratitude are sneaking back into his life once again. 

It makes me smile. It makes me very grateful and happy that he has a lot to be thankful for and he realizes it. Now if we can only get the rest of the world to move towards a heart of gratitude.

Gratitude comes in many shapes and sizes and manifestations.  It just goes hand in hand with being kind. Let’s all practice some kindness today, shall we?

Beth Ann is a 50-something wife, mother of two adult sons who shares her home with her husband and her two felines, Buddy and Holly. An avid reader and lover of travel, she has found herself living in many different places over the years and currently calls Brevard, NC her home. She loves to connect with people who share her zest for life. Her blog - It's Just Life - Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary - highlights her passions of writing, travel, food and her ever growing teapot collection. Her regular feature, Comments for a Cause, highlights a new charity every month. Beth Ann looks at life as though her glass is always full and tries to pay it forward every chance she gets.   

2 comments:

Beth Ann Chiles said...

Thanks so much for letting me be a guest on your fabulous blog today! I truly appreciate it!

Hillary Chybinski said...

There is no better compliment for a mom than "your children are so polite." =) It warms my heart!

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