Is Gratitude is a Learned Behavior?


gratitude

Ephesians 5:19-20

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christmas is coming, and my children have presented us with their wish lists. The items on the lists are not inexpensive. Interestingly, they already have similar items. We don’t deny our children toys and electronic gadgets, but the items on their wish lists represent the newest, biggest, or best items in those particular categories.

I wonder what happened. We have tried to raise our children to be thankful for what they have, and to live within our means.

I think the “desire for stuff” is a learned behavior, and is detrimental to having a grateful spirit. Our culture bombards us with commercials of all kinds of products that say “buy me and you will be happy,” but that happiness is fleeting. It only lasts until the next better product comes along. It’s a vicious cycle.

How do we stop the cycle?

I believe gratitude is a choice. It’s a behavior; therefore we have personal control over the behavior. When things aren’t going the way we like, we can choose to wallow in self-pity, or choose to look at all the many blessings we do have. It’s then we may see how rich we really are.

One way to see our many blessings, and cultivate a grateful spirit, is to squelch the idea that we don’t have enough. The idea that we need more primarily comes through advertisements. So, we’re cutting off the TV as an experiment. While I can’t stop the flood of all the advertisements we are exposed to, I don’t have to bring them into my home. Let’s see if I can cultivate gratitude in my home, by eliminating what is detrimental to gratitude.

How do you cultivate a grateful spirit?

 

Have a grateful day.

 

Scripture is from www.biblegateway.com

Image is from Google images

The Oyster


oyster1

Far, far away, at the bottom of the ocean, lived an oyster. Of course she was not alone; this was a well-respected and pretty crowded oyster bank. But our little oyster felt out of place compared to the rest of the oysters. All the other oysters were very proud of the pearl they were cultivating inside of them. They would talk about its progress, and show each other too. But our oyster kept very much to herself. She would not participate in the animated conversations, and had never even given the other oysters as much as a glimpse of what she was cultivating. Of course she knew exactly what it looked like; she had repeatedly looked at it when the others were sleeping. It was beautiful and shining with an almost transparent glow.

She could have joined the conversations and showings, but for some reason she felt her pearl was much too beautiful to be exposed. She kept it completely to herself, cherishing it. The other oysters tried to persuade her to open up to them, but she kept resisting them. “No!” she spoke firmly. “It’s much too beautiful to be shown to you! This is the best, most beautiful pearl. I love it, it’s mine and that’s what it will be forever.” She kept loving and cherishing her pearl as it became bigger and more beautiful than ever, while keeping shut.
Soon the time arrived for the oysters to be brought up to the surface. They were bragging about the wonderful destination their pearls would have. “My pearl will become part of a Queen’s necklace!” “My pearl will become an Emperor’s gift to his wife!” “My pearl will be the biggest piece of jewellery on an engagement ring!” “My pearl….”  But our little oyster kept silent as she loved and kept her pearl inside of her.
She had seen lots of oysters being brought to the surface, even beginning to think she would escape this terrible fate, when with a sudden shock she felt herself being grabbed too! She was determined to stay shut, and not let anybody touch her beautiful pearl. But of course, even she was pried open and her pearl taken from her. She managed to look over the edge of the basket that she had been put in. At first she was blinded by the sunlight, but after blinking a couple of times, she could see where she was. She could see a tiny fisherman’s house, kept very clean. She could see the young fisherman, with HER pearl in his hand, approach a beautiful young woman. He held out his hand and gave her the pearl.
Our little oyster could clearly see the surprise on the young woman’s face. “Oh! What a beautiful pearl! I’ve never seen one so beautiful!” Our oyster nearly fell back into the basket, but managed to hold on. She saw the look of sincere love on the fisherman’s face as he asked the woman: “Will you marry me?” “Yes! Yes!” the young woman cried out as she dropped herself into his embrace. He lifted her up and swirled her around as they kissed.
Our oyster gasped in surprise as reality hit her. She suddenly realized what her life had been about. With a stream of tears, that could easily have been mistaken for just plain sea water, she let go of the edge of the basket and dropped herself to the bottom of it. There she sighed her final breath. She had learned the lesson:


“What we have grown and cultivated inside us, we must bring into the world, for its beauty will bring happiness to others, and with that, even greater happiness to us.”

 – Author Unknown

Image: Google Images