The other night I was over at a friend’s house for dinner. In the middle of the table were leaf-shaped pieces of construction paper in fall colors. Before we ate, my friend had her two children pick a leaf and write on it one thing they were thankful for. The five-year old boy picked me. He showed me two leaves and had me pick which one I liked better. He asked how I spelled my name, and I watched him write E-L-L-I-E on the leaf. Then my friend hung the leaves on a string of draped across the mantelpiece.
It was a cool moment, and it got me thinking, as Thanksgiving approaches, about how we teach gratitude. How we practice gratitude. This year as stores choose to start their Black Friday hours on Thanksgiving Thursday, I am even more aware of how we must claim the value of gratitude and build it into our lives on a daily basis. If we replace gratitude with consumerism, our own happiness is at stake.
Have you seen this video connecting happiness to expressing gratitude?
It struck me when one of the women said on the phone that the man is making her do this. It’s strange to take the time to contemplate what we are thankful for and then take the time to express that gratitude to the person who deserves to hear it. Yet those activities make us happier. I like that the video doesn’t even address the change in the person on the other end of the phone. We often focus on how the person being thanked feels. Expressing gratitude changes the person saying the thing that needs to be said. We can do what the video shows every day. We don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to set aside time to be consciously grateful.