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Gratitude is a Matter of Attitude!

Our perspective can determine whether we benefit from life's experiences or not. Not to imply that every experience that comes our way is sent to teach us a lesson, but every good or bad experience does have something valuable for us to learn within it. Even if it is just to learn how to survive the experience ...and surviving an experience is an accomplishment. It isn't true that everything that comes our way is a blessing for something we have done right or a punishment for something we have done wrong. Bad things do happen to good people - remember the story of Job? We can be angry for not getting what we think we deserve or we can be grateful for the many blessings we do receive.

Gratitude is a matter of attitude! In case you're wondering what you have to be thankful for - just think! It will come to you; ...God, our creation and existence, families, spouses, friends, wisdom, intelligence, miracles, freedom, understanding, patience, humor, prosperity, ...the list is endless.

One of the first things children are taught is to say "please and thank you." Yes, America's young people are very polite. But give them a few short years and for most of them "please and thank you" will be gone. And after listening to adults, you'd have to agree, for many politeness and gratitude has yet to return. Saying thank you to those around us - especially spouses and children - is so easy and oh, so essential. Everyone thrives on being appreciated.

We show gratitude to God by doing what He asks of us and by honoring what He has given to us. Quite simply He stated, "As I have loved you, love one another." As spiritual brothers and sisters we are to care for each other with love and respect. Share what you can of your time, talents, and money. Everyone has something they can give.

We must grateful for all the little things that are done for us each day and remember to say Yquot;thank you." But is thank you enough? Sometimes. Yet, if we would all remember to pass on to another the thoughtfulness that was extended to us the world would definitely be a nicer place to live.

Thoughtfulness starts in the home and yet some of the saddest treatment occurs between family members. Kindness is the key. Observe your treatment of your friends and if it is far better than the treatment of your family -- work on treating your family better! You obviously have it in you. Support them in their pursuits. Share in their joys. Console them in their disappointments. Encourage them to excel - but love them for who and where they are now. Go to their concerts, plays, sporting events, whenever you can. It won't be long and they'll be grown and you'll miss it. Guaranteed.

Treat your children like the spirit children they are. Remember, they are blessing. Learn to appreciate them again if you've be inattentive or critical. Let them teach you how to enjoy the simpler things in life. Take a walk, watch a child's movie with them (and enjoy it), or play a game. Give them some undivided attention and watch them blossom. Children love unconditionally - at least when they are little. And you'd better stock up on that "emotional bank" for when they get older and perhaps become more critical.

Don't forget your spouse. Spend time together. Get to know each other all over again. Rebuild the trust if it has been broken down and share dreams -- personal and family. Do you really know what their favorite color is? favorite pastime? goals? fears? Do small acts of kindness. Give something because you love them not just because it is a special occasion. Get creative. Have fun. Oh ...and remember to say "please and thank you."

Now that we've gone over how to show gratitude to God, others and family, we've covered everything, right? Wrong! What about you? Should you show gratitude to yourself? You bet. How? Give yourself the gift of time ...the peace and quiet to put yourself back together after the worldly demands have left you drained. Enjoy sunrises and sunsets. Watching the sun come up is inspirational. It's a great way to start the day. Many people resort to watching TV because they feel they have no energy left at the end of the day to do much else. If you feel that if that is your only alternative -- try watching a show on the marvels of nature. Something awe-inspiring. It's not as exciting as the real thing but it does get the appreciation mode flowing. If you can't find serenity in your backyard or in a nature show, go to a park and be a kid. If you feel better take one of your children along. Just remember what it was like to be carefree for a short time and you'll feel renewed. There is beauty all around us - look for it. Open your eyes!

There are many things that will happen in our lives. Some will bring happiness and some great sadness. We can be grateful or resentful. We can choose. Some things happen because of our choices and some things just happen. Often the most we can hope it just to survive the experience. Remember, "Faith doesn't get you around trouble - it gets you through it." Do the best you can and realize that sometimes things will not work out the way you planned. It's okay. Life isn't meant to be easy. God still loves you.

...And keep your perspective - it helps.

Connie Eccles, ComPortOne Editor

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