By Paula Damon
I grew up in a household where ingratitude was intolerable. No whining was permitted. If we did not demonstrate our thankfulness, we were reprimanded, spanked or sent to our rooms.
In today’s world, it’s a rare delight to witness a child’s gratitude over necessities, like food, clothing and shelter.
Part of the problem is we try too hard to make our kids and grandkids happy and in return, all we want is their gratitude. But gratitude is not something we can buy at the story or order online and have delivered to our doors.
Gratitude is a mindset a learned behavior that considers all things with appreciation and thankfulness.
In the book “How Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” author Robert Emmons suggests that “gratitude is the foundation of fullness.”
Scientists have found that regular grateful thinking increases our happiness. Doing something as simple as keeping a gratitude journal helps us sleep better sleep and energize us.
Although, passing on an attitude of gratitude to the younger generations is easier said than done.
In the Gospel of Luke, there’s a story about how Jesus heals 10 people of leprosy.
There are different approaches to understanding the meaning of this passage, but for me the main message is twofold: believing good can come out of the most hopeless situations and possessing an attitude of gratitude can be instantaneously life changing.
Even though the lepers were contagious and disfigured by awful skin rashes, they were bold in bringing their troubles to Jesus.
What made them so bold? After all, they had spent most of their lives hidden from society, self-conscious and unloved. They probably were afraid but their faith overrides their fear.
Because without faith, they would have stayed at home. Without faith they would not have gone to meet Jesus; nor would have they cried out for help and healing.
Without faith, their doubt would have confounded them with unanswerable questions: What shall we say? What if he rejects us? Will he even notice us?
Instead, with their belief that Jesus would receive them, the lepers called out to Him across a boundary line required by law that quarantined lepers at a distance from others.
Jesus noticed the 10 lepers, heard their plea for healing and told them to go to the Temple to get their certificates for a “Clean Bill of Health,” so they could begin living a normal life as members of society.
On their way to the temple, the 10 began to experience healing as their symptoms disappeared. One of the 10, so overcome with gratitude, turned around and went back to thank Jesus.
Actor, comedian and economist Ben Stein once said, “I cannot tell you how to be rich, but I can tell you how to feel rich and that is to be grateful. It’s the only totally reliable get-rich-quick scheme ever.”
Martin Luther said, “For whoever believes has everything from God and is happy and rich.” With an attitude of gratitude in all things, “our fears disappear and abundance appears.”
There’s an old legend about a young man roaming the desert who came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water. The water was so sweet he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who was his teacher.
The old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water.
Later, when the teacher let another student taste the water, the student spat it out saying, “Master, the water was foul. Why did you pretend to like it?”
The teacher replied, “You only tasted the water. I tasted the gift.”