Expressing Gratitude – Why and How (November 2016)

One must express gratitude, is probably one of the key universal values emphasized across world’s regions and religions. We must be thankful to anyone and everyone who helps us in any way. Right! But, why should one be thankful or how should one express it? Wasn’t the other person doing his/her duty, anyway! Isn’t saying “Thanks you!” not enough! Having a clearer and deeper understanding of these points is vital for this virtuous attribute [of gratitude] in becoming part of one’s character. This month’s topic for kids assignment is Expressing Gratitude – Why and How. In addition to articulating the importance of being grateful to our helpers (God, parents, teachers, aids, nature etc.), kids will delve into the base level reasoning of why we should be grateful, how we develop a feeling of gratitude, and what methods are there to express gratitude.

Why should one be grateful? First, the grateful people, those who counts smallest of life’s blessings and express gratefulness from depth of the heart and not by words alone, have perennial source of happiness. One would hardly see such people in stress. They are internally delighted for what they have. Even when things don’t go their way, they do not feel discouraged; instead, they continue to try alternate ways to achieve their goals. They exude enthusiasm and positive outlook. The inherent joy energizes them to undertake new, creative initiatives. Living a truly satisfactory life, they act as role model and inspire others.

Being grateful has two dimensions: feeling and expressing. By now we have understood that being grateful is one of the most positive attributes of character, but to be genuinely grateful, one needs to identify and appreciate the providers of the boons in one’s life. We ought to be grateful to God, parents, teachers, family & friends, nature, society and so many other people and things that may not be directly related to us. Our outlook and feelings starts to change when we pay attention to otherwise ignored gains, such as
– Human Life. We are born as human, a single evolved species that is bestowed with the faculties to observe, contemplate, express, learn, and grow. When focusing on seemingly trivial advantage of our lives or what our lives would be without even a single one of them such as the ability to eat, talk, walk, etc., we start to realize how blessed we are. Thank, God!
– Unconditional love and care. From the day we are born – in fact, before our birth -, we receive genuine love from our parents. We often tend to overlook our parents. We also receive love, care, and support from our friends and family members.
– True knowledge. We are how we think; and, we think based on knowledge we possess. To succeed in life, having selfless teachers who coach and advise us in acquiring true knowledge is a huge boon.
– Blessings everywhere. Be it food, clothes, house, education, health, society, nature, or anything, all of us have a long list of things for which we could be and should be thankful.

As our outlook evolves, we start to realize how others are helping us in almost every aspect of our lives. Once the true appreciation is built in one’s heart for life’s blessings and the providers of those blessings, expressions of thankfulness come naturally – we don’t have to force ourselves. Understanding that the method of expressing gratefulness may differ from person to person, rather than providing a template on how to express thankfulness, I’ll leave it as an additional exercise for kids to articulate the ways they express appreciation.

I am looking forward to hearing yet another set of illuminating anecdotes, experiences, and views from our kids.

With Best Regards,
Harsh Mendiratta🙏🏽