Thank You! Being Grateful for Chaotic Times.
I had a realization recently that I am far more inclined to say thank you than please. I don’t know why that is. I’m not making an excuse for it. In fact, I’m a little appalled by it.
I’m a bit of a manners stickler. We always told our kids that having good manners will never hurt you. I suppose that may be a simplification of things. Still, Elena who is a full-fledged adult in her 30s recently thanked me for teaching her manners. It isn’t about being perfect as if you were at a Victorian dinner party. It doesn’t mean that I never lick my fingers or put my elbows on my table. It is more about showing grace, gratitude, and respect for the people in your world.
I once read a list of who you should be respectful to. It was a laundry list – people who are older than you, people who are younger than you, people who are richer than you, people who have less than you, people who need your help, people who don’t need help at all. You get the picture. Basically, you should be respectful and, I would add, grateful towards. This list blew my head open. I suddenly saw that it wasn’t about being kind to those you like, it is about respecting everyone because we are all humans with a story.
Being grateful toward people you love is easy. Being grateful toward someone you disagree with or invokes suspicion is much harder. It makes you dig into your soul and question your own values. We’ve all has overwhelming reactions to what is going on in our world today.
Stepping back and reflecting on our worries and frustrations and looking for a way to find something in it to be grateful for is a challenge. Whether it is for better racial understanding or the whole face mask thing, it is hard to feel grateful for those who just don’t get it. I find that I do need to pull back and wait a while to find the gift in the hurt and anger.
This a lesson I try to share especially with my kiddos. I expected it from my own children. My mantra in my classroom was “I can’t make you like anyone, but I will insist that you treat everyone with respect.”
Here is a list of who and what I am grateful for in today’s world. It is not an exhaustive list because as soon as I stop to think about it, I begin to add more things and people to it.
1. For the youth who remind me of my own hypocrisy in forgetting the lessons we taught them. I need to be made aware of my mistaken assumptions and my missteps in order to fix them.
2. For the protestors who go out to let their voices be heard even though this is a risky time, both for safety and for health, to do so.
3. For the people, both leaders and everyday folks, who make ridiculous statements because they teach me what we need to teach them.
4. For my ability to have the choice to stay home and be safe during our health crisis. I recognize my privilege in having the wherewithal to be bored silly by staying home and isolated.
5. For every good person out there who is willing to calmly have a conversation about what they don’t get about others’ ideas and beliefs.
6. For every single person who takes the time to listen to those who are hurting and those who are angry. I mean listening with more than their ears. True listening means using their hearts to hear clearly.
7. For the people who have made all the technology available to make our world smaller and help us be in touch with each other. (I will admit to struggling with this somedays since it also exposes us to lies and distortions.)
8. For the flowers that continue to bloom, the birds that continue to sing, and our Mother the Earth who continues to turn. Amid the despair in our world, there is still breathtaking beauty.
9. For those people who can help us deal with our frustration and anger by providing us with humor. Whether it is a famous personality or one of my marvelous sisters, laughter is an amazing balm for the soul. (I need to add, I am grateful for a sense of humor – how sad it would be not to “get it.”)
10. For trusting that for every step back we will make two forward. Today it feels that between COVID19 and the racial disparity in our world, we have taken 300 steps backwards. I am grateful that we have loving and compassionate people who keep pushing back so we move forward beyond where we started, and the belief our voices can bring a change.
Being grateful doesn’t just mean manners. It doesn’t just mean sitting still. Being grateful also means letting your voice be heard for what is good and for how we can strive to be better.
I’d love to know what you find gratitude for in our crazily chaotic world. I also wonder how you share it with your family and friends?
All my love,
Monday, July 20, 2020 Becoming a Mindful Parent
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