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Gratitude: Nature or Nurture?

By nature, I have a grateful heart. As a very small child, I would lie in bed rattling off all I was thankful for before I presented my laundry list of things I thought God might do for our family. However, my sense of gratitude was not only innate, it was also taught.

My parents and grandmother were sticklers when it came to good manners: please, thank you and of course, the required ‘Mams and Sirs’ reserved for teachers, preachers, aunts, uncles, and anyone else taller than me (which was about everyone and still is). But they also taught me to recognize that my good fortune in life was not all my own doing. I was taught the contributions and support of others, the presentation of opportunities and Divine Providence were all, also, at work.

To be grateful requires awareness and awareness requires pause. A little ‘stop’ to smell the roses in our lives; a held breath to remember it is our very next breath that is a gift; and a pause, at least for me, to be thankful for the fabulous people in my life. People like you.

While my seven-month-old Annie may not understand the prayer I say with her, she seems to understand there is something very important to our ritual for she always, always, punctuates our amen with a kiss to my nose. Perhaps her gratitude is innate, as well. (Or maybe she’s just grateful that the prayer is short; I’m not sure.)

Whether your sense of appreciation is a wellspring within you or was taught by those who loved you, it matters not. It just matters that you are for regardless of who you are or where you are, there is something to be thankful for today. Amen.

Kiss. Kiss.

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