As I stand at the airport writing this post I’m reminded of Memorial Day. Yes, it is the day AFTER Memorial Day but it is still appropriate to remember, salute and celebrate the men and women serving in the armed forces and all that they have done for us. I see people rushing to their gates, families walking together and others just checking today’s news. Life is in full swing. And that is the biggest gift that we have received – normal is back after Memorial Day where we’ve all put our thankful hats away and go back to our previously scheduled life. It’s this way with the majority of us. And it’s evident in many areas of our lives. But what if we could have this attitude flowing naturally in our thoughts, words and actions? Being Thankful.
Thankfulness is such a strong attribute, it should be intertwined in every aspect of our lives. However, to really capture our hearts, it needs to be based on the realization of what others have indeed done for us. It’s more than words. It’s understanding in your attitude the decisions, sacrifices and directions others have taken to your benefit.
This is what my wife and I have taught our children. Often, the perfect situation plays out like this…
Me: “Son, that was nice that your friend shared his soccer ball with you.”
Son: “I know, I really like his soccer ball.”
Me: “Great, now what do you say?”
Son: “Thank you.”
Me: “What in fact are you thankful for?”
Son: “I’m thankful for his soccer ball.”
Me: “Are you thankful that he shared?”
Me: “Make sure you tell him.”
Son: “Thank you for sharing your soccer ball.”
Friend: “You are welcome.”
(For readership experience, all crying, yelling and kicking have been omitted from this conversation. My son is not perfect and I do not claim for him to be, but he is learning just like I am.)
My wife and I really try to focus on reminding them not only to show their thankfulness but to acknowledge their reason for and by appreciating someone else’s words or actions towards them. Emphasizing on this type of behavior is so powerful and I have seen my children exemplifying it in the smallest of occasions. Interestingly enough, I’ve also seen the person/parties being recognized continuing to develop other behaviors that are positive and important in their lives. In the case of my son’s friend, he has continuously developed a desire to share his toys.
The same holds true in our work lives. This week I’ll be visiting a sales channel that we partner with in Atlanta. After a slow start to the year our numbers are going up and we’re hitting our monthly goals again. Last month was particularly successful and so part of my trip is to show how much I appreciate their commitment, hard work and focus on meeting our objectives. In my bag I have individual thank you cards, hand written with a particular note specific for each of the individuals. Each note zooms in on their contribution, their actions and the results their were directly involved. My goal is to continue to foster thankfulness in myself and motivate them to grow in their professional life.
This is a never-ending process. As I finish this post I’m reminded of this truth… my flight has been delayed a second time… trying to be thankful for voucher I just received, since what I really want is to get on that flight.