What makes you want to say “thanks?”

Anne Lamott, in her book Help, Thanks, Wow shares that thanks is “gratitude for an unexpected grace.”

Have you ever had someone “make” you say “thank you?” It isn’t effective, is it? It doesn’t really create a sense of gratitude. But – maybe there are inner workings happening in those moments that have long-lasting effects.

One year we were opening gifts from some family members that we only saw once every two to three years. But it was important to that family that we “do gifts” so the kids and I were “all in.”

One of the lessons I tried to instill in my children was to pay attention to those around you, and when it comes to “gift-giving time,” you think through their likes and dislikes and find something appropriate within that realm. Therefore, my kids, unfortunately, expected the same courtesy to be returned.

Andrew was 13 and Layne was 11.

Andrew’s gifts were some spatulas and a potholder.

Layne received a cat calendar of that current year – not for the upcoming year (and btw – she does not have an affinity for cats) and some measuring cups.

You could tell the disappointment on their faces when they opened the gifts.

In classic “mom” fashion, I had a way of smiling and looking happy but grabbing the back of their arm with a tight hold and whispering, “say ‘thank you!’”

They both turned and looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

Their eyes very clearly said, “You want us to THANK THEM for this?”

There are times in our lives that we receive gifts that we really do not want. But during those times we have to dig in and find ways to be grateful.

Maybe, even though the calendar was from the current year and it was 10 days from being over, maybe just think, “Wow, they cared enough to give me SOMETHING.”

Or . . .

“Maybe it’s just been so long since they’ve had kids of this age, they have no clue what to give, but they wanted to give SOMETHING instead of coming empty-handed.”

It was a stretch to try to see the “good” in that gift . . . but – here’s the lesson in all that.

Gratitude starts as a feeling and moves to a behavior.

If we will practice it, even when we don’t feel it, before we know it – it will be our “norm.”

We will find ourselves grateful for even the smallest things.

“The movement of grace toward gratitude brings us from our self-obsessed madness to a spiritual awakening. Gratitude is peace.” -Anne Lamott

Can you find ways that your gratitude has moved from a feeling to a behavior?

Try practicing the feelings of gratitude at least 3 – 5x a day and watch the transformation that happens in your life!