As I approached the front door of the high school there was a kid to my right with his hands full. So I graciously held the door open for him. We walked into the breezeway, so I held the next door open for him as well. I proceeded to the office, where apparently he was going too. And guess what? I held that door open for him too. So, I opened not one, not two, but three doors for this kid. And guess what? He didn’t say a word to me. This guy flunked Gratitude 101.
When I finished up a couple hours later I headed to the office. When I arrived, there were about a dozen kids about to walk in. So guess what? I opened the door and held it open for all these kids as well. Kid after kid passed me by without a glance, and without so much as a “thank you.” Out of the dozen, two young ladies actually acknowledged me and said “thank you.” Two out of the twelve passed Gratitude 101.
Contrast that with the elderly folks I work with at my other job. These people are filled with gratitude. It doesn’t matter what I do for them—pick up something they drop, go get them a cup of coffee, give them a compliment, move a chair or something in their way, hold the door open, etc.—they are filled with gratitude. They thank me profusely every time. In Gratitude 101 these people are at the head of the class.
We could just say it’s a “generational thing.” And I would be one of the first to jump on this bandwagon. Teenagers (of which I have two) can be some of the most ungrateful people on the planet. Ugh! But I don’t think we can quickly dismiss this as a “generational thing.”
There’s a story in Luke 17 in which Jesus ran into 10 guys who all had leprosy. When they saw Jesus approaching, they begged Him to have pity on them. Jesus responded back to them by saying, “Go show yourself to the priest.” (An interesting response from Jesus here I might add!) So they headed to the priest, and as they went, they were all healed of their leprosy. However, only one of the ten came back to thank Jesus. A whopping 90% of the class of lepers failed Gratitude 101.
Gratitude 101—Here’s a short lesson:
- Be grateful. We really don’t deserve anything. We’re not entitled to anything. When people do nice things for you, realize they didn’t have to do it, they chose to do it. They went out of their way to bless you in some way.
- Act grateful. Show it. Show some gratitude. Say things like “thank you,” “thanks,” “I appreciate that,” “I’m so grateful for what you did,” etc.
- Live grateful. Understand #1 on a deeper level. It is only by God’s grace that you have what you have, are what you are, do what you do, etc. All the more reason for you to embrace an attitude of gratitude.
- Give grateful. When someone helps you, always be ready to help them back. When someone compliments you, compliment them back. Model grateful for others to see. Give it as you would any other gift.
Believe it or not, when we are grateful, we are actually fulfilling the will of God. Paul writes, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
So, the next time someone shows you some kindness, remind yourself you’re in class. It’s called Gratitude 101. And it’s easy to score high marks if you would simply say, “thank you!”
And by the way…thank you so much for taking time to read this post! 🙂