Habits of Genuinely Grateful People (Pt. 1)

Word Count: 1094

Estimated Reading Time: 5-6 minutes


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

Show and Tell

Elsa doll, a Frozen reading book, and a pink guitar are items our daughter has taken to school for Show and Tell. Scheduled on Fridays at the teacher’s discretion, this has become one of our daughter’s favorite learning sessions.

Every morning she persistently asks, “Is today show and tell?” Seeing how happy she was after a Show and Tell day I sought to find out what makes it so engaging and meaningful for kids who at her age are active and not able to sit down for an extended time. 

What I  discovered was eye-opening. The surprising benefits of Show and Tell are exactly what I hoped our daughter would learn in school. This simple activity is power-packed with life skills. It made me wonder how much better in life I would have been with the added benefit of Show and Tell while I was in school. Dwelling less on the past and more on the present, I learned the following about the purpose of Show and Tell:

  1. Speaking: Giving each child an opportunity to share something about what they brought in, helps with public speaking as well as building confidence.
  2. Listening: Our attention spans are fading fast. Children listening to each other enhances their focus and expands their attention. It also teaches them to respect and value others.
  3. Gratitude: The children also learn to appreciate what they have. This builds their contentment levels.

Don’t you think such an exercise that brings the value mentioned above should be made standard in every child’s learning experience? Some of us may not be in a classroom, but we have a whole world in which we can bring Show and Tell by cultivating habits of gratitude. 

The more I live, the more I see the need to grow in gratitude. It is a worthwhile investment that will yield positive gains throughout your life. Research scientists even place a premium on gratitude because of the many health benefits associated with it. Here are two of the four habits that I will share in today’s and next week’s posts that mark genuinely grateful people:

1. Take nothing for granted

Gilbert K. Chesterton said, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Keeping that in mind, how would you fill in the following blank space? Life is ___________. How you fill in the blank has a lot to do with the lens you see life through. We all have different lenses that we use to make sense of our one precious life. Regardless of the lens, we should always include the view that life should never be taken for granted. 

This is the first habit of genuinely grateful people. More often than not, we seem to reflect on the value of life when it is lost or threatened. This reality was true for actor Kevin Hart a few months ago when he survived a near-fatal car accident. With his spine broken in three places, his survival and subsequent road to recovery taught him how to appreciate life and take nothing for granted. But should it take such events to turn on our gratitude switch? I don’t believe so. This should be a daily practice. This year, I became more intentional about taking nothing for granted. Here’s how I did it: 

First, I began a daily one-line journal entry of what I was grateful for. Nothing was off-limits. No matter how small. There was a day my journal entry simply read, “Grateful to be alive.” I came to discover the significance of the little things and how much I was overlooking in my life! Second, each day I made sure I told someone “thank you” or showed appreciation. My wife always reminds me to show gratitude by waving my hand when another driver gives us way in front of them during traffic. As I write this I must pause and say thank you for the time you take each week to read my blog. Because of you, I am a better writer and person. Third, I chose to view hardships and setbacks as stepping stones instead of sinking sand. I now appreciate hard seasons because I learn and grow more from difficulty than I do from comfort and ease. And gratitude is one of those lessons that has been cemented in my life.

The outcome of not taking anything for granted is a greater value for people which is also our second habit. 

2. Value people more than possessions

The value that Jesus placed on people has always stood out to me. He never saw them as a means to an end or a resource to get ahead. He genuinely cared for people. No matter their status. This is one reason he was so effective no matter the environment He was in. I am coming to the realization that people matter to God even when He doesn’t matter to them. And personally, I prefer to err on the side of God and value people over fleeting material possessions. 

We live in a time where the acquisition of stuff is detaching us from developing deep and meaningful relationships. Isolation is becoming our new reality as our attachment to our devices grows. The good news is that we can right the ship before it capsizes and sinks to the bottom. We must realize that we cannot value people while moving at the pace of technology. We need a different pace. I call it the pace of love. But I must pause and warn you that it is a slower pace requiring time, attention, and patience. All relationships thrive when these qualities are present. They make us more observant and appreciative. It was this pace that attracted many to Jesus. When you show and tell people that they are valued above what you own, they will be drawn to your life. I recall Jesus saying, “…life does not consist of the abundance of things” (Luke 12:15). Choose people over possessions. You will see how much more satisfaction you get out of life. It is a habit that the genuinely grateful focus on. 

Final Thought: Gratitude is not only an attitude but it is also a habit. Practice it daily by taking nothing for granted and valuing people. You will show and tell the world around you that gratitude is a necessity not an accessory. 

Please come back next week for part 2. 

Keep on Keeping on! 


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