What’s in Your “Thank Bank?”
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ” ~William Arthur Ward
Like you, I look forward to the delicious food and the many festivities of the season, to the gatherings and the rituals that signal the holidays are upon us. I look forward to seeing aunts and uncles, cousins and their children; to catching up with everyone, even if just for a few hours.
One of the things I look forward to the most is a tradition started by my mother many years back. Before settling down to the main feast, we go around the room and answer the question “What are you grateful for?” I will admit there were times (during my ungrateful teens) when I didn’t find this exercise very endearing. As I grow older, it is one of the things I look forward to, and ponder, the most.
We are often so busy with life that we don’t spend much time considering what, or who, we are grateful for. The fourth Thursday of November is the one day of the year dedicated to giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives, (despite the peaks and valleys we all experience). To find gratitude in our lives, we consider our basic needs: Do we have our health? Shelter? Food? Transportation? A job? Friends and family members (perhaps even coworkers) who love us? These are just a few of the things on our list. The rest is just gravy…
Although Thanksgiving offers a perfect opportunity to express our gratitude, perhaps it could be a more frequent activity in our lives? After all, gratitude seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more grateful we are, the more we find to be grateful for.
A few ideas for capturing gratitude throughout the year:
- A Gratitude Journal : A few times a week, jot down the things you are grateful for (or capture it on your iPhone via the Gratitude Journal App). When times get tough, referring to this journal can be extremely beneficial.
- A Gratitude Box: This is one of the most meaningful gifts Oprah ever received. Inexpensive to create, the gratitude box can be given to a friend on a special occasion or duplicated for a special event (such as Thanksgiving).
- A Family Thank Bank: Instead of coins, deposit small notes of gratitude into the slot of a piggy bank. Similar to the gratitude journal, the thank bank allows the whole family to participate.
As warriors of the credit union movement, I think we witness gratitude more frequently than most people do. We get to see the looks on the faces of the members whose loans we approve, when other financial institutions have turned them down. We hear gratitude in the voices of the members whose problems we have listened to, and then helped solve.
One of the things I am most grateful for this year is being a part of this movement and of being surrounded, on a daily basis, by “people helping people”. Thank you for all that you do!