There is nothing uglier than a person with an entitlement mentality, a spoiled brat spirit. In contrast, there is nothing more beautiful than a grateful person. Everyone loves a person who is thankful. You can’t stay away. You just want to hang around them all the time.

Charissa Gingerich Higdon with twins Haley & Noah

My beautiful daughter Charissa is one of the most grateful persons on the planet. When she was little, she would thank her mom and I over and over again for a gift we gave, a treat, time spent with her, driving her to a soccer practice, or whatever. We even had to tell her she could stop thanking us because we had heard it a dozen times already. To this day as a 30 year-old mommy of twins, she still can’t stop thanking people when they bless her.

This past weekend, I was trimming shrubs and cut the television cable feed into my home. The contractor who buried the cable had left an 18 inch segment above ground right where it went through my shrubs. My hedge trimmer discovered the error. I had a choice to make. Was I going to whine and complain all weekend because I had no cable TV in the house or make the best of it?  After all, it was one full day of college football and another day of NFL football that I was missing until the cable company finally sent someone out to fix their screw-up.

Skyline Drive14I intentionally set out to be thankful. First of all, I had a first world problem to deal with. My third world travels have taken me to many homes where there are no televisions. While having a pretty basic cable package, I still have dozens of high definition channels to choose from 24/7. I even have a seven-inch portable color screen television in my closet that gathers a half dozen over-the-air HD channels. I dusted off the box and used it.

Frankly, most of the complaints I hear or see posted on social media arise out of an entitlement mindset that has permeated our North American culture. There is a lot of ugly spoiled-brat kind of grouchiness that saturates our culture with ungratefulness. We complain about the weather—too hot or too cold. We gripe about the customer service of businesses we procure from. We grumble about the traffic and the driving-habits of others. We hate to wait in line. Fast food isn’t fast enough. We think we deserve better. Really, it’s not very pretty when you stop to think about it.

Gratitude comes out of the overflow of a thankful heart. When we realize how blessed we are, it makes all the difference in the world. We used to sing a song in the church of my childhood, “Count your many blessings and name them one by one.” When I practice that one line of that old hymn, it changes my perspective. It changes my attitude. It changes my heart. And it changes my actions.

This week, slow down enough to reflect on your blessings. Name them. Write them down. Express them to someone else. Repeat them over and over. You will turn what could be an ugly self-centered week into a beautiful week of thanksgiving and gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

QUESTION: What are the top three things you are thankful for today?  Share them in the comment section.


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