When I was twenty-one(don’t ask me when) ,I believe I had a birthday party .I received lots of cards but very few gifts.I am not really sure about the gifts but I remember one clearly.It was a plaque that was glass framed with a philosophical thought.I thnk I expected something more and I feel ashamed when I remember that the giver of the gift actually asked me if I saw the gift. I have long repented and cannot imagine something like that ever happening to me .As I have grown older, I have learnt the importance of being appreciative and doing so quickly and willingly,as I had been taught at home.So I was very delighted when some years ago,my goddaughter showed the virtue.
It happened on the Christmas Day of some years ago.I called my friend who is also in the Dishusbandmata team as I happen to be the godmother of her last children.They are a set of twins and were three-year-old then.
I wanted to find out how the children received their Christmas gifts (no, I didn’t buy them ).
She (Himo) told me that the girl twin ran to her and asked excitedly “Mummy, where is Santa? I want to thank him “
I could picture the moment but wondered if I could actually partake of it so I asked my friend if she recorded it and she replied in the negative as the child had run into the kitchen while she was cooking but she then told me “it made all the sacrifice worth it “
I thought about what that child did and I am not surprised at her reaction. It seems like, with increasing age, we uncannily lose our ability to receive gifts with spontaneous childlike thankfulness. We develop an entitlement mentality, sometimes start to expect things from people and then begin to measure their love based on the gifts they give us. When the gifts do not match our expectations, the need to say Thank You, unfortunately, is not a priority.
I never thought I would use this story but today as I thought about it, I was reminded there is a section on our website that says “Little Ones Teaching” and definitely this child reminded me on how good it is to appreciate what people do immediately or as soon as we possibly can. One good reason is you never know the extent of the sacrifice they made.
Our expression of gratitude should not only be tied to cash gifts or tangible gifts. Even intangible gifts like the gift of time a friend or spouse gives when we use up their time by telling them all of our problems or perhaps a phone call or text from an old acquaintance who keeps checking on us from time to time are all to be appreciated. Maybe this is the time to send a Thank you text back to them for their concern.
One of the issues with not expressing gratitude is that we sometimes make the giver begin to wonder if they have done right or if we felt insulted by their gifts. I for one as much as within my power, prefer to give anonymously but in situations when I cannot help it and my giving is known, I am always happy to know the recipient appreciated it. It automatically puts them in the “next to do something for” list again!
So as we round up the year, let us be deliberate about gratitude and expressing gratitude to others .It is not enough to just think we are grateful especially when it involves others.We should learn to purposefully take time to appreciate what people do for us. It is one of the enhancers of friendships and definitely a key characteristic of a healthy relationship.a
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PS: If you do have something you have learned recently from a child, we can use it in the “Little Ones Teaching”.Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org