The Incredible Power of Gratitude {and 5 easy ways to show it}

by - February 10, 2015

I made quiche for dinner tonight.  I rolled out the pie crust and beat the eggs and chopped the vegetables and baked it for fifty minutes until it was perfectly set and the house smelled of pastry and breakfast.

"Supper!" I call and they come pounding up the stairs from the basement family room to congregate around the dining room table.

"What is that?" Liam asks, eyeing his plate and me like he doesn't trust either of us.

"Egg pie," I say.

"Egg pie?"

"It's like a pie made out of eggs," Zander offers, "but all vegetabley and stuff," - always so helpful and wise.

We hold hands in a circle.  "You pray, Zander," I say.  "You're obviously the most thankful."

They have little to say as they eat, dousing their 'pie' in ketchup and taking swills of milk between bites.

They don't like it.  It's painfully obvious but not one of them complains.

Zander finishes first.

"You want another slice?" I ask him.

He smiles a little half-sided grin and shakes his head before taking his dishes to the sink.  "Thank you for supper," he says.

"More, Liam?" I ask as he forks in the final bite and mumbles his no while his mouth is still full and then takes his dishes to the sink before he's even swallowed.  

"Thank you for supper," he says.

Poor Noa still has half left and she's taking the tiniest bird-bites and scrunching up her eyes just a little with each taste.  I cheer her on while I take another half slice because I happen to find it positively delicious and she grins at me wide while I make a great show of enjoying it.

I set the kettle on to boil while she toils over her final bites, finally getting them down before adding her plate to her brother's by the sink.  "Thank you for supper, mommy," she says and I kiss her square on her eggy face.

"You're welcome," I say.

But really I should be thanking them.  I should be learning from them

If your attitude is gratitude then even small {unlikable} things are worth being thankful for. 

I sit back down at the table while my tea steeps and marvel at how I've actually arrived at this moment.  This place where I have produced children who - though eating a meal they do not like - do not complain, do not whine, and who, in fact, say thank you when it's over.

I'm not sure how I did that.

But boy am I thankful!

Gratitude is so powerful.  And to find yourself in an environment of reciprocal thankfulness is positively life-giving. 

My children weren't thanking me for making them a meal they didn't enjoy.  They were thanking me for making them a meal - for caring for them - for ignoring the burning desire to arrive home from work, put my feet up, watch Netflix and just tell them to go make themselves some toast with peanut butter.

They were thanking me for loving them.

And I am about bursting with it!

Six Ways to Show Your Gratitude

1. Say it.  

Out loud.  Right to their face.  Be specific.  Be genuine.  Just say THANK YOU!

2. Public appreciation.  

Find ways to acknowledge someones contribution to your project/day/life by praising them in a public forum - among co-workers, family, friends, on social media, your blog, newspaper, a soapbox in the town square... 

3. Handwritten notes.  

The thought and care expressed through a handwritten note is palpable and it's something the appreciated person can hold on to as a spirit-boost-reminder on a tough day.  {How heartbreaking that these are so quickly disappearing from our culture.}  

4. A small token.  

Surprise someone with kindness in the way of a small gift - be it a cup of coffee, a little box of chocolate, or flowers - it's the thought that counts.

5. Be infectious.  

Smile.  Spread your attitude of gratitude by being a positive light in the world.  Something as simple as a smile can be powerful enough to affirm someone and make them feel personally connected in a world that is so hugely lacking in human contact these days.

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I don't know what I've done to deserve children who say 'THANK YOU' but I do think it has a little something to do with the positive way I choose to live my life.  Children are {most often} a reflection of their parents.  I try to greet them each day with a smile and a kiss and an attitude that lets them know how much I appreciate them.  

I am eternally thankful for them and I will NEVER forget to make sure they know it!

"If the only prayer you say in your life is 'thank you,' that would suffice."  
- Meister Eckhart

Who are you thankful for?  Have you told them yet today? 

{linking up here}

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© Alanna Rusnak