Graciousness and Thankfulness
Isn’t it just wonderful when two different people or items are paired to make a perfect combination? When I first met my wife, we discovered that we both loved to dip our french-fries into our Wendy’s Frosty (yes, that was back when Frostys were only chocolate). It was a wonderful coming together of flavors. Of course, there are other items that fit well together, beans and bacon, apple pie and vanilla ice cream, chips and salsa, and fried fish with malt vinegar! Ah… enough about food. How about Jeeps and mud? Goofy hats and babies? Doctors with small hands? A wide open road and the peddle all the way down? Pinafores and little girls? Little boys and frogs? Jeans and boots? There are so many great combinations we see all around us. They make us feel just a bit better about each day.
Two items which go together quite well are graciousness and thankfulness. This combination has been diminishing over the years. Some would suggest, that perhaps we live in an age in which opportunity to demonstrate these traits has lessened. To the contrary, this age is full of bountiful moments to apply these characteristics to one’s life. It is high time that we affix them not only to the adults of society, but we ingrain them in our youth.
Graciousness involves a display of kindness or courtesy to others. It is a quality predominantly lacking in Hollywood, the Professional Sports community, and the Political community. The “stars” continually put on a show of in your face arrogance and an heir of entitlement with their behaviors. Self centered moments such as Kanye West’s 2009 VMA Rant, Lebron James’ “The Decision”, Michael Jordan’s HOF speech, and the rejection of the will of the American people by the 111th congress are key moments of how not to respond to the kindness of others. Graciousness takes those moments and considers blessing of other giving you opportunity to serve. Stars and politicians need to consider the ends of their actions and remember they are ultimately servants who can be put away. Graciousness examines those around you and says, “How can I put others interests ahead of my own”. It is kind of like when your aunt Mildred gives you her famous Christmas fruitcake. You and everyone who has every tried it has nearly gagged. However, you smile, tell her how great it is, and you move forward. You don’t tear her heart in two when she has put forth a great effort for you. Our youth have seen a lack of graciousness displayed in front of them for years. Now, when they receive gifts, they may throw them to the side or they loudly state, “I’ll exchange this”. They fail to show graciousness and fail to realize the hurt they can inflict upon others thoughtful efforts.
Thankfulness is our counterpart to graciousness. As mentioned previously, some folks have an heir of entitlement about them. They are not thankful for the kindnesses around them. They see the blessings as something they deserve. “Stars” fail to be thankful for the encouragement of others, the money spent on their shows or events, the word-of-mouth sharing about the “star” that ultimately brought about the great success. They forget it was the hard working citizen who raised the standard of living such that a person could make an unbelievable living in the Arts or in Sports instead of spending all day breaking their knuckles on a farm or working in a mill. The politician fails to be thankful to the citizen for the opportunity to represent their views. Instead, they work against the citizen, they ignore the citizen, they choose actions that will benefit themselves and their own power. We all tend to forget to be thankful at times. How often do we take for granted simple things such as refrigeration, electricity, automobiles, many sets of clothing, paved roads, power tools, and a selection of shoes to wear. It wasn’t too long ago that these things weren’t around. Again, our youth see our example of failing to be thankful. Our example of the child who receives gifts not only displayed their lack of graciousness, but their lack of thankfulness. We are owed nothing. We should be thankful for what we receive and express that in graciousness.
It is a great joy to experience a combination of two things which go perfectly together. Graciousness and thankfulness are certainly two items which do. There is a scripture from the Bible which says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning”. May we not only be gracious in expressing our appreciation for His kindness, but may we be thankful for the reception of it. What we do with our hands is not everlasting. What we say with our mouths is not everlasting. However, the impact of these will affect others. The impact may set a pattern which is repeated by generations. How much richer to send a pattern of graciousness and thankfulness forward than one which focuses only one’s own self and personal gain. We will certainly be blessed by the better combination and so will those who follow in our footsteps.