The National Day of Thanks has come and gone for this year, and while we were not able to celebrate it as we have done in past years, I hope you were able to thank people who have made a difference in your community and your life. You will have noticed over the last number of years that we have been emphasising gratitude and living a grateful way of life every day – not just showing appreciation to others on one day a year.
This year has been unexpected and unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. Serious drought, followed by wildfires and floods, and now the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. Our lives, our economy, and the world have been turned upside down in these unprecedented times. Now that restrictions are progressively being lifted, we all hope life will get back to what we considered as normal. However, many are starting to wonder what everyday life will look like on the other side of this crisis. The answer to this question will depend a lot on where you live, what your experience has been, and what you make of the whole situation.
Many of us have been relying on social media and Zoom meetings to stay in touch with our friends, family, and workplaces. While these technologies are great for keeping us in contact with each other, they are not really the same as seeing people in-person. We often put on a happy or brave face when posting on-line, which makes us appear to be carefree and doing well. Unfortunately, it leaves little room for sharing our vulnerability, which is an important aspect of connecting with each other. As we start to come through this crisis, let us nurture this aspect of being vulnerable with one and other – sharing and supporting each other with consideration and encouragement.
Showing gratitude matters. It is obvious that we should be grateful to the “essential workers” during this time of crisis, but what do we do after it is all over? I am reminded of the quote: Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in your actions.
Before the pandemic, most of us probably did not think twice about those who serve us. Now that they are on everyone’s radar, it is encouraging to see more people showing their appreciation for those who serve them. Our lives should be about showing gratitude and paying forward kindness continually – not just in a crisis. Some of our Mini Thank You cards kept in your wallet or pocket are a great way to say thank you to someone who may help you at any time during the day.
School is back, and our children also need to learn to appreciate others. Our School Gratitude Program provides resources to help schools teach children and young adults how to develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”. We all know that “telling” children they should show gratitude or be thankful for what they have, does not always work. In our Teachers Guide we have activities for all ages that will help them develop a thankful way of life and show them how they can express their thankfulness.
Feeling grateful and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it to someone.
Robert J Burman
Coordinator – Thanks.org.au