Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Children Have Taught Me About Gratitude

A couple of years ago, when my granddaughter was 3 years old, she sort of knocked me off kilter by what she said.  It was a Friday afternoon. Not just any Friday, but Nattie Friday--that magical day that arrives every other week, and we get to spend it with her. We were on our way home from a playground. This was after our typical round of coloring, eating "forbidden" chocolate, baking cupcakes, and whatever else we could do that was fun. That was an important rule. It had to be fun.  With little hands gripping her lovey, she stopped sucking her thumb and her tiny voice came from the  backseat, "Grammie, I had fun today."  I smiled so hard my eyes squinted nearly shut. I could barely see to drive.

She had not even uttered the word, "thanks".  Nope. Nothing even close to it, but her gratitude came through loud and clear.  She had spoken straight from her heart.

There were a couple of lessons in that.

I didn't take her to the park and do all those other things--just to hear a thank you. But I did do them for all the right reasons.

Do for the good in the doing--not for the reward.

And, learn to hear gratitude, rather than listening for "thanks".

Nearly two decades before that, my brother was visiting from California along with his wife and three young sons.

We all squeezed around the dinner table one evening,  (11 of us) and my husband called out their middle child to say grace. I think he was probably all of 4 years old at the time, and I suspect he might  never have done this before.  No pressure. :-)

He started out by thanking God for the food.  This went on for a bit, as he mentioned each food served.  And then he thanked God for the table.  And then he was thankful for  his plate, and then the fork, and the  knife, and the spoon.  His voice got a little sing-songy as he lifted his eyes searching for inspiration. I think he even thanked God for my mom's little dog.

His parents then removed him from further grace detail.

The lesson I learned from that? So obvious. Be grateful for the little things...they can make all the difference.  Imagine dinner with no fork, no plate, no spoon, no table... no food...

Sometimes kids have it all figured out. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! <3


  1. Thank you, Teresa. Such a lovely story. :-)

  2. So nice and so thoughtful at the same time. Yes every little thing in our life matters.

  3. Teresa, this ties in perfectly with something I've been mulling over lately. The gist is that I've been in a funk for several weeks and it's been so hard to kickstart myself back into the world. Hurricane Sandy didn't affect me personally or my community; we never lost power, let alone our homes. Because I don't have something that big to point to and say "somebody please help me", it's been harder to know what to do about it.

    Two things have helped. One is feeling really bad that I used to so strongly identify myself as a writer then when I got pulled away by events outside my control and lost motivation, I just sat there and shrugged.

    The other is realizing that okay, now that I've decided it's okay to feel lost and upset even though I still have a place to live because I too have no job, no immediate prospects for one and no savings for my future, I'm still not that bad off. My family is not going to kick me out of the house. My writer friends (local and cyber) make me laugh and keep me connected. Sandy's victims have a lot more trouble. I've been in my current situation before and came through it.

    So even though I've never had kids and don't hang around them, I totally get what you're saying here. It's easy to forget to be thankful for how rich our lives are. Thanksgiving shouldn't be restricted to only one day a year. :)

    1. That was well said, Marcia! "It's easy to forget to be thankful for how rich our lives are. Thanksgiving shouldn't be restricted to only one day a year. :)"

      I really hope things turn around for you, girl. And we have to work on getting you back on track with your writing. You are a writer! And your story is awesome. I can hardly wait to be able to say, "I knew her when..." :-) !