The past couple of weeks at practice, I’ve been asking groups of players how they show gratitude. It starts with the question, “What are you thankful for?” Once they give me an answer, I then ask them how they express/show gratitude. I ask, because thankfulness leads us to think and ponder, while gratitude is a state of being. Gratitude means living it. To be doers, not just sayers, is the goal of our core values.
When I brought in a group of 10 year old boys and asked what they’re thankful for, one boy quickly shouted, “turkey!” I asked him how he shows gratitude and some other boys chimed in with, “eat all of it in your tummy, yummmm” or “put gravy on it!” Although I will do both of those this Thanksgiving, I wanted them to think a bit more.
Then I heard a quiet and hesitant answer from the side of the group, “Umm, you could give a turkey to someone else, too.” The comment surprised me but this is exactly where I wanted them to go.
In that short, five second moment those 10 year olds sniffed out the difference between thankfulness and gratitude. Thankfulness is saying thank you for the turkey (or even putting turkey on it let’s be real), while gratitude is the action that 10 year old takes when he gives a turkey to someone else this Thanksgiving. Therefore, gratitude for the love of a friend, a god you may believe in, a turkey, or anything else, requires passing it on.
So this Thanksgiving, let’s be prone to “pass it on” when it comes to turkey, love, and relationships so others can have something to be grateful for, too.
And if you’re interested in giving a turkey to someone else, like my 10 year old blonde friend, here’s a link to Mel Trotter Ministries, they’re short of their turkey goal so far and YOU can “pass it on.”
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