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By SUSAN RIDER
An attitude of gratitude is the best attitude to develop not just because of the season, but because of all the blessings we have been granted. No matter how bad things get, how rushed you are or how sad you are, you can always find someone worse off than you.
One day, I was playing the game with my grandson. Trying to teach him about all the things, people and abundance he had to be grateful for, so we went around the car and each person was supposed to name one thing they are grateful for. It was a beautiful Saturday and we were on our way to have a great outing. We had gone around several times, and he had given thanks for his parents, family and friends.
Then, with a serious face, he said, “I’m grateful for the word yes.” Funny, I had never thought about being grateful for words. But this very smart 10-year-old knew that when he asked permission for something, the word yes was indeed a gift. There are a few words that are my favorites and I’m grateful for joy, peace, love and faith.
Many times we look at the things that make us happy and focus on gratitude for those things.
“Happiness is not so much in having as sharing,” Norman Macewan said. Sharing, that’s a word to be grateful for. Sharing your holidays with loved ones and friends. Sharing your wonderful Thanksgiving meal with others. Sharing a table at a fast food restaurant with a lonely person is a gift that will be cherished by both. Sharing is another favorite word and something to add to your grateful list. But as my grandson so intuitively noticed, it’s the words and actions that will get my focus this year.
I remember one Thanksgiving when I was young. We were stripping tobacco — which I’m not afraid to tell you was not my favorite thing to do — and my grandmother came to cook dinner so my mother could keep working in the tobacco barn.
When it was time to eat, my father said he’d be right back and left. When he returned, he had a couple local gentlemen with him, one homeless and one very old and living in a small house without electricity or running water.
I remember thinking soap is a good thing and, I confess, hoping I didn’t have to sit by them at the table. My dad never noticed; he treated them as royalty and shared everything we had on the table. I’m grateful for that lesson in life. Everything on the table was from the farm — the green beans, corn, turnips, turkey, home-made butter. My dad was very proud we had raised an abundance to share for the winter. I’m grateful for that lesson, also.
Gratitude can come in all forms. Like, as the song goes, being thankful for unanswered prayers. In my younger days, there were many things I prayed for and thank goodness they didn’t happen.
Last month, there was an article in The News-Enterprise about a 100-year-old wonderful lady whose family survived World War II after their home was bombed. I’m grateful for this example of how very fortunate we are and the beautiful story about such a brave and strong woman.
And someone else advertised that they were sharing the black walnuts off their trees with families that wanted to harvest them. I’m grateful for that attitude of sharing.
Maybe you are like me and would like to use that as an example of what we could do as a community to share our abundance. As I drove around a couple of months ago, I noticed pear and apple trees full with fruit rotting. Wouldn’t it be nice if that fruit could go to someone in our community was needy? Just a thought. We could call it Sharing in Kentucky. More on this topic in a later column.
Today, we have abundance in this beautiful country of ours and have much to add to our gratitude game. God bless the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I am grateful for all the people who send support and help to get their electricity turned on as quickly as possible, some from our area. Thank you.
Try playing the gratitude game yourself and with some of your young family members. See how creative they can get and notice how the smiles brighten and the spirit of Thanksgiving is taught.
Susan Rider is Speakers with Spark’s Lead Dynamo. She lives in LaRue County.