Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Lost Art of Being Grateful

Yes, the lost art of  being grateful - I say "art," because lately, it is so rare to find true, heartfelt gratitude, it is more of an art than a regular behavior! I think being grateful is the secret to life, and I am trying hard to teach this to my little B's. Hence, they find themselves writing many thank you cards.

Just the other day, I made Britt write a thank you card to each of his swim coaches. There were some parents collecting money for a "group" gift, but I don't think it teaches kids anything if parents simply give money to a gift card cause. We got the coaches gift cards, also, but I wanted Britt to be the one to say "THANK YOU" and to actually give the cards to his coaches. Sure, I could have saved myself some grief, because it isn't always fun to insist on hand written thank yous. But you know what? It is a useful skill for the future of my little B's. And a little handwriting practice is never a bad thing. Brailey herself had to write two thank you cards today - one to our neighbor, who gave her a bag of her granddaughter's clothes, and one to our vet for his extra help with her horse.

Here are my pet peeves and what I do not consider proper thank yous (you know, in case you were wondering):

Parents saying thank you for their kid's gift. Please, have the kid do the thanking. This is a skill he/she will "thank" you for later.

Facebook thank yous. One word - lazy.

Text message thank yous. Two words - even lazier.

A one-liner thank you card. Why even bother? At least say why you are thankful and what the gift means to you.

No thank you at all. Very offensive behavior.

Brady and I recently donated items to an auction, and we have yet to be thanked for donating the items by the person the auction benefited. We were more than happy to help out, but we won't be helping that cause in the future, because that organization needs to learn how to say a proper thank you. What we did receive is a thank you via Facebook from the event coordinator. Needless to say, we did not find this satisfactory.

Am I being a hard ass? Am I being negative? Am I being judgmental? You can think that if you want to, but being grateful is not a difficult skill to master. So my answer to those questions is "no, not at all." Saying thank you is positive and helpful in many, many ways. It benefits the person getting thanked and the person doing the thanking. Positive, happy feelings both ways! Win-win.

I am really sick and tired of people not being grateful. And the reason is simple - it hurts my feelings! Yes, I am sensitive. But Brady and I are in complete agreement when it comes to gratitude. In fact, Brady is the one who taught me to say, "Thank you for the good service!" to waiters/waitresses, baristas, gas station attendants, checkers... Anyone who is kind to us, we thank.

And by the way? Thank you for reading this blog!

3 comments:

  1. Gratitude is integral but so is compassion and forgiveness. Mama B this sounded very raw, I feel like you were hurting when you wrote it and I want to give you a big hug and tell you Thank you for being so darn wonderful.

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    1. No, not raw. Just been simmering on it for a while. I am tired of people making excuses for themselves, that's all (certain people in my life, yes, but the world in general, as well). Writing thank you cards is a life skill that is no longer being passed down though family generations. I have vast amounts of compassion and forgiveness, which I feel are completely separate issue. Gratitude is easy, plain and simple, whereas compassion and forgiveness are not. Thank you for reading my post and commenting, though - I really appreciate it!

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  2. YOU ARE SO GREAT WITH THANK YOUS! You always alwways have the most sincere and sweet thank yous - you INSPIRE me to be better. Now that Jason is starting to try and write, i know people would much rather hear from them than me anyway (esp when gift for them). I think a pause and the act of reflection on a gift or an act of kindness is good for the receiver, the parent and the person being thanked. it is another GIFT!
    hugs to you - teach us all!!!!
    xoxox coley

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