We have so much to be grateful for! And like charity, gratitude begins at home.

We have so much to be grateful for! And like charity, gratitude begins at home.

There is joy in every little family moment. Your child snuggling with you, your teenager helping you with household chores, your spouse letting you watch your favourite TV channel; moments to be savoured and appreciated.

It’s not so much the increase in prickly incidents as much as the failure to celebrate joyous family moments that robs some of the lustre of married life. We are so wary of the trying incidents in our life that we tend to let celebratory moments pass by.

 

Always be grateful
If we pause long enough we will be surprised by the numerous familial deeds we take for granted. The early morning cup of tea, elderly in-laws who lend a helping hand, the spouse who assists in getting children ready for school, the children who do their homework without making excuses, the breadwinner of the family who works tirelessly to provide necessities – the list is in fact numerous.

How do we show our appreciation for what the other members of the family do for us? A simple “thank you” is as good a start as any. It’s probably the simplest and oldest expression of gratitude. And over millennia it has helped strengthen familial bonds, motivate the spouse and children and pre-empt friction.

Expressing gratitude? Do it right
However, expressing gratitude is a double-edged sword; if not done correctly it can have some consequences. Expressing gratitude is an art. It should not be given a broad-brush treatment. It has to be spontaneous. It has to relate to something specific. And it has to be sincere.

When we appreciate the good moments we also appreciate the people who make good things happen. This makes those around us feel important and motivates them to do even better.

If this expression of gratitude is public – in the presence of friends and relatives – the impact is even greater. It not only draws attention to the goodness of our kith and kin, it also draws attention to the fact of how appreciative we are of their help and understanding.

Everyone deserves appreciation
“I have worked for so many years, and I have achieved so much that is praiseworthy, but not a word of appreciation. The moment I commit one mistake and everyone is ready to pounce on me…”

This is a common refrain of many careerists and our kith and kin. A genuine refrain. A refrain that many of us can readily identify with. We all crave appreciation. It is to an individual what water and sunlight are to plants. And it does as much good to the giver as to the receiver.

When we spend a few minutes a day appreciating and feeling grateful for the good things in life it increases our own happiness, advances relationships, repairs emotional fissures and keeps us healthier. But expressing real gratitude requires tact and care. It’s an art: after all the canvases are alive and the paints, a medley of emotions.

Prabhu Lazarus

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