At this season of Thanksgiving, I took a moment to look up the word "gratitude." Some definitions were simple, e.g., "thankfulness," while others were more expansive, e.g., "a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received."
Synonyms included "thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness, acknowledgment, response, sense of obligation, sense of indebtedness, feeling of obligation, responsiveness, thanks, praise, guerdon, requital, recognition, honor, thanksgiving, grace." So many words for an inherently simple concept! But how do we get from the dictionary to daily life? Much has been written of late about the importance of cultivating a "gratitude attitude." Just like ethics, and pretty much anything else, a sense of gratitude can be learned and/or strengthened, but only with practice and regular use.Everyone has her or his own way of showing gratitude. Around PRIM&R, we try to notice and appreciate the “small stuff” our colleagues, members, and "FOPs" (Friends of PRIM&R) do -- both inside and outside the office. We miss a lot, though, and so we want to encourage all of our members and conference attendees to similarly pause and say "Thanks! That was nice of you," whenever you see a good deed in action. Saying "thank you" is a small, but significant, way to make explicit the fact that one's community (whether it's the community of your office, institution, town/city, family, or of all man-and-womankind) is better because the object of your gratitude is in it.Therefore, in case we've missed a good deed of yours, please know that your actions and/or words live on through the ripple effect of kindness you created. That said, I hope you'll take a moment during this Thanksgiving season to reflect on the impact that your positive actions have had on your communities, the PRIM&R one included. As we can’t do that from afar, please reach your arm around your shoulder and pat yourself on the back for us and from us! It's trite, but true, that each of us can choose to be one of four types of people: The glass half full kind, the glass half empty kind, the glass cracked kind, or the glass overflowing kind. What kind do you want to be? So let's all "accentuate the positive," and "de-emphasize the negative" both at this season and always. There's SO MUCH to be grateful for if we only open our eyes and take in the small and large acts of kindness taking place everywhere we look. Thanks to all our members, volunteers, faculty members, attendees, and others who keep the subject protections flame burning. From our family to yours, we hope that you are both the recipient and donor of such acts. We wish you bounteous gifts and joy overflowing during this holiday and always.