Do you have an attitude of gratitude? I've been repeating the phrase 'attitude of gratitude' for the past several days, because after hearing it, the rhyme stuck with me, as did the idea, especially during this Thanksgiving week.
I was tutoring my dear scholar at a local school, as I do each week, in the same room where several teachers were planning the next day's field trip. They were discussing the schedule, reminding each other to wear old clothes for hiking through a cave, assigning students to busses, etc., when one of them shared that a student had asked what type of bus they would be riding on the field trip. She said she responded by holding up the receipt detailing the cost of the trip, telling the students they should adopt an 'attitude of gratitude' for having the opportunity to take this trip, at no cost to them, and not be disappointed that they were taking school buses and not coach buses. She was perceptibly annoyed that the students were allowing their want for more to overshadow their gratitude for what they were being given.
"Comparison is lethal to contentment" is a quote I keep on my desk to remind me that if I consider the gifts I have been given relative to what I have not been given, I will not be content. I find this to be absolutely true. However, when I cherish my life, as it is, I am content, and I am grateful. Using my gifts to bring goodness to the world brings joy to myself and to others, which brings more gratitude. It is a remarkable circle of wonderfulness.
This Thanksgiving, and always, adopt an 'attitude of gratitude' and watch the joy scatter more joy.
At the literal dawn of Election Day 2016, a Presidential election for the ages, I am at peace. The fact that the election of either major party candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, terrifies me, makes my serenity feel surreal. It's as if I'm having an out-of-body experience.
While the campaign has produced pronouncements, by the candidates themselves, the media, and millions of vocal individuals, extrapolating each candidate's past into the future, of all things great and terrible that may result from the election of either candidate to the highest office in the world, not one of us really knows how it will play out. Amid all of this uncertainty and cause for fear, why am I so at peace?
I have always believed there is a greater force at work, one that will ensure life goes on. This doesn't imply that we should wait idly for things to happen around us, nor that there will be no pain or suffering. We have, as a nation, faced Civil War, Great Depression, racial discord, and other situations that have caused significant pain and suffering. And we live on, as individuals, and as America. A great force has ensured it. Perhaps it's our Constitution, a map for governing that gives every individual the opportunity to be part of America's governance, and at the same time ensuring that no individual can overtake it. Perhaps it's the American spirit, which believes we each possess unique qualities which, when combined with equal opportunity, and good intention, can produce amazing results for ourselves and the collective good.
The person sitting in the White House is not ultimately responsible for what our lives are like. That responsibility resides within each of us. If we each do our part to be the best individuals, and families, and friends, and communities we can be, we will solve many of our own problems, regardless of who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Lets us not be troubled by today's outcome, whatever it may be. Rather, let us be inspired to do our part as individuals for the good of America. I will go to the polls today, trusting that all will be well.
author of "JOY"