Gratitude is a verb

Gratitude is a verb

Today’s guest blog is written by my friend Benjamin Gladden. Ben is a stay at home dad who supports his working wife

Gratitude is a verb

Today’s guest blog is written by my friend Benjamin Gladden. Ben is a stay at home dad who supports his working wife and busy household of three children, a bird, a growing garden and a kitchen that rarely shuts down. Ben regularly writes about parenting and spirituality, two subjects he loves.

After a long day of activities this past Saturday, my family and I decided to eat out instead of rushing home to cook dinner. When the food arrived, our six year old said, “Let’s say a prayer.” We all took hands, and I led us in a prayer.

Until recently, I would have been embarrassed to do that in public. But I’m not now.

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It all started about three years ago when a friend of mine told me “gratitude is a verb.” I didn’t really like hearing that. I always thought gratitude was an emotional or heart-felt response to something received – whether it was a gift, an act of kindness, or an ongoing blessing, like secure employment. I didn’t think being grateful meant that I had to take some action beyond the simple courtesy of saying “thank you,” or even writing a kind note or email to someone who was helpful to me.

My friend meant that sincere gratitude is transformative – if it’s sincere, it should change me.

I recently read an article by well-known author Deepak Chopra – . Chopra expresses some time-honored principles. He raises the point that gratitude requires a setting aside of one’s ego, which opens one up “to receive grace, love, beauty, and inspiration.” In particular, he says, “Real gratitude isn’t passing and temporary.”

That’s the sort of gratitude my friend was talking about – a gratitude that doesn’t fade quickly, but lingers. I wanted this sort of gratitude in my life. It reminded me of a statement by another well-known author, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote that “Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years.”

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So I set out to be consistently grateful – making sincere, honest gratitude part of my daily life. I found that one of the most important and effective methods for incorporating gratitude into my daily life is to say grace before dinner. It’s a simple, powerful thing.

It’s not always easy to stop and be grateful after spending a couple hours in the kitchen, while keeping track of three kids. We usually just want to eat. But saying a simple prayer before dinner is almost always transformative for me. It reminds me of what my life includes, and gives me a chance to let go of the things I don’t want in my life.

Our family has enjoyed it so much that it seems natural to say a prayer before we eat at a restaurant.

So this last weekend when we were out and our six year old said, “Let’s say a prayer,” we all quickly took hands. After a hectic day of activities, it was a calming and uniting force.

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