By the time you read this article, I hope you’ve already read the reblogged article I posted entitled “Up Your Gratitude,” published in a Parade Magazine article earlier this year. That article was part of the inspiration for this article and can be found in this same Blog category.
I recently watched an Oprah Network special wherein Oprah visits families of Hasidic Jews. One of the families had NEVER seen a television show in their lives and didn’t even know who Oprah was until her staff approached the family about this project of interviewing a Hasidic Jewish family. This family consisted of the husband and wife and 9 children, the oldest of which was 17 years old and the youngest, 18 months. If you can believe what the 17 year old son said – and I think I do – he has absolutely never watched TV and is an extremely happy teenager. The couple’s 15 year old daughter loves not having the normal pressures associated with young teen girls. “There’s no pressure” she explained.
None of the children had ever heard of the names that Oprah tossed into their conversation: from cartoon characters such as Micky Mouse and Sponge Bob Squarepants, to Beyonce and other well-known entertainers. Nope, they had no idea what or who she was talking about. Considering they had never heard of Oprah, that’s not at all surprising.
And yet they were extremely happy and grateful people.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT RELIGION – it’s about the lack of wanting more,wanting better, and wanting bigger as it relates to consumerism. Each person Oprah interviewed talked about the lack of pressure in their life to want, want, and want even more. As a matter of fact, the wife in this family of 9 children, who is pregnant with her 10th child, said the only time she had a feeling of wanting more was when she was able to upgrade to a better wig when her earnings increased. (At a certain age, Hasidic women must cover their hair as a gesture of modesty, be it a scarf or a wig.) So when this woman was able to get a better wig she experienced an “Aha” moment – getting a better, more natural looking wig satisfied a want for something more that she hadn’t ever experienced. Gratitude abounded in this household that most definitely doesn’t resemble our idea of a “normal” frantic-ridden, electronic guided, household.
Time to check my own gratitude level – and level of personal satisfaction. When you receive not-so-good service at an establishment, do you trash its character to others so that they are aware of the establishment’s failings and will curtail their support of its business? It’s easy to complain about something isn’t it? It’s harder – but better – to compliment someone who does a great job:
- Writing a note to the manager of a salon you frequent, complimenting the stylist who always does such a great job on your haircut and/or color. It’s not enough that you tell the stylist how satisfied you are. Tell the one who signs his paychecks and sets his schedule – that’s where the thank you also needs to go so that your favorite stylist receives something for his/her efforts.
- Going out of your way to thank someone in person, or by thank you note, for their volunteerism at church or other community venue;
- Calling or writing a note, not texting, not e-mailing, when you’re grateful for something you received as a gift;
- When your coworker does a great job, or your child does something in the home without being asked, or when you are simply grateful for the commitment your spouse has to his or her job that assures constant financial support in the home – acknowledge their efforts instead of simply appreciating them in your own mind.
Who benefits from appreciative thoughts if they are not expressed to the person who inspired them? Gratitude expressed provides more benefit than you can imagine. Don’t you want to start a ripple effect of gratitude in your small corner of the universe? Get that ripple going – you’ll be better off as a result, and everyone to whom that ripple touches will benefit as well.