Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Discipline of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I just read a great blog post for Thanksgiving by Jeff Goins.  Click here to read it, but one of the points he makes that I liked best is that gratitude is a discipline.  I'd never thought of it that way.  That got me to thinking--which can be very dangerous.

Being grateful isn't inherent to humans.  You will know this if you've every raised children.  How many times as a parent have you repeated these words to your small child:  "What do you say?"  Then you wait for the "Thank you."

Gratitude was a discipline when you were a child, and it remains one as we grow older.  To attain the higher things in life requires discipline.  You don't remain fit without the discipline to eat properly and workout (I should know).  You don't remain solvent without the fiscal discipline to resist buying every item that catches your eye.  You don't remain employed without the discipline to work hard and meet deadlines.  You don't achieve your writing dreams without the discipline to glue your bum to a chair and pound out words.  The examples go on and on.  

Clearly discipline leads to greater rewards.  When we practice the discipline of gratitude, what is the reward?  Besides making you and others feel better, it changes your perspective from one of lack to abundance.  All the self-help books tell you that you have to think it before you can see it.  Having an appreciative attitude is a creative mindset and opens the world to you.  It's small pain in the beginning for large gain later. 

This year I had the privilege to visit Plymouth, Massachusetts, when my daughter ran the Boston Marathon.  Below are a few pictures.  

When I first saw the replica of the Mayflower there, I couldn't believe how many people had been crammed in it and how treacherous it must have been to cross the vast ocean in that tiny ship. In early April, Plymouth looked very barren.  I can't imagine how inhospitable this stretch of coastline must have seemed to those Pilgrims who landed there.  

But instead of bemoaning their puny boat, rugged landscape, and how much work and uncertainty they faced in this new home--including death--they set aside time to be grateful to God that they had arrived safely, were free, and had survived well enough to harvest food for a feast.  

Their humble discipline of gratitude has opened the world to us.  May their discipline of gratitude be a shining example to us all and continue to open this great nation and it's people to even more blessings.  

Now to get that 23 pound bird into the oven!  

Happy Thanksgiving!


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