Gratitude and Nana’s Rule #2

Thanksgiving is almost here and as I sit in front of the computer with my cup of coffee and think about the family gathering that I will be a part of tomorrow, I find myself reflecting on the word “gratitude”. It conveys a simple emotion but the power it carries is unmeasurable.

We live in a rush-rush society—everything is hurry up—look at it or read it quickly and then go to the next thing… a world of sound-bites and talk in bullet points, please. And someone may do something nice for us or send us a gift and we look at it and for the moment think “how nice” and then we put it aside and move on to the next thing. Their effort is quickly forgotten.

In your busy “check-it-off- the-list and move-on” life, you forget to say “Thank You”…. You never let them know you got the gift or you liked it or you appreciated the kind thing they did for you.

And what about our day to day relationships—with your spouse or co-worker or children or siblings….how often is “Thank You” said? Or is the mentality more along the lines of … “why should I say “thank you” to my spouse for fixing dinner or mowing the grass or getting the groceries or cleaning up the kitchen….after all, that is his/her job.  Or, why should I say “thank you” to my co-worker for getting me a copy of a needed report or sending out an email……… after all, that is his/her job” and you rush about your day on to the next thing…. And saying “Thank You” is never said.

But the importance of saying “thank you” is doing so is a way to express gratitude…. And gratitude is a deal-maker and/or a deal-breaker in all relationships.

You see, the opposite of being grateful is being ungrateful. And it is an ugly word. No one wants to be that. But you could be viewed as ungrateful and never know it….. because unexpressed gratitude communicates ingratitude.  It if is not expressed then it does not exist.

And I want to say that one more time—if gratitude is merely thought in the mind and never put into words in any way, then gratitude does not exist. You can say “thank you” in so many different ways—in person or on the phone or via email or a letter. But, if you merely think “thank you” but do not express those thoughts, you remain an ungrateful person.

I am convinced that gratitude is extremely important and that is because ingratitude can shut down an entire relationship. Relationships are so very fragile—whether it is husband-wife; parent-child; sibling-sibling; or friend-to- friend.

I personally do not think it is the big things that destroy relationships or prevent them from truly reaching their potential.

Instead, it is the slow dripping of small issues that build up over time. Unexpressed gratitude has the same effect as rejection. No one likes to be rejected. And over time, rejection can drive a person’s heart and interest out of the relationship.

And that is a very sad thing and something that can destroy the relationship.

As readers know, I have given great thought as to what Nana’s Rules should be—I have shared some of them in previous posts. And on the Eve of Thanksgiving, I am creating Nana’s Rule #2…… “Say Thank You”.

I will start out small such as when we have finished dinner I will remind Lauren and Sean to say Thank You. I will let them know that this is Nana’s Rule #2. And we will build on that rule so that my grandchildren will know the importance of always expressing gratitude—whether it be by telling me in person or sending an me email (or who knows what future ways there will be to say Thank You.)

But the goal will be for Lauren and Sean to truly understand the power behind and the importance of expressing gratitude in their relationships—whether it be with co-workers, friends, or family……that keeping “Thank You” thoughts in their minds is not where they need to stay but instead, they need to express and share the gratitude they feel.

So, as I sit here on the Eve of Thanksgiving, I want to take the “Thank You” thoughts that are floating in my mind and express them…..

To my son and his family, thank you for sharing your very busy lives with me… I truly enjoy the time we spend with each other and it is an honor and a joy to play a role in your lives.

To my family and friends…  over the years, you have laughed with me and cried with me and my life is so very much richer due to your being in my life.

And last, but not least, to the man I referenced in the September blog…. the Gentleman Caller with Smiling Eyes……thank you for the dinners out;  the offering of a hand to hold while sharing glasses of wine ….. the lingering over cups of coffee while having quiet conversations ….and the joy and laughter you have brought into my life.

For that, I truly say……… Thank You.

jfh