In my previous post, I said I would share the words I had for the Cub Scouts during our Gratitude Service. Here they are (modified just slightly from their original).
Before I get to them, though, I’d like to share something that I’m thankful for. I’m so incredibly thankful for my family. Not only are they always supportive of me, but they make life fun. Here are a few photos from our family vacation a few years ago – we have pictures like this from every family vacation in recent memory.
On Being Thankful
With Thanksgiving coming up this month, it seems like a good time to think about gratitude or being thankful.
What is Gratitude?
According to the dictionary, gratitude is the “thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received.”
So, first you need to acknowledge what you have to be thankful for and then you need to appreciate it.
Why should we be grateful?
Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk, explains this really well:
Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.
So basically, being grateful makes us happy because it helps us realize what we have.
What do we have to be thankful for?
When we all came in, we thought of something we were thankful for and put it on the thankful tree.
The Webelos poem contained a bunch of things they are thankful for.
But sometimes it seems like nothing is going right and we have nothing to be thankful for. There is a quote from Buddha that shows that we always have something to be grateful for:
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.
How do we show gratitude?
So how do we show gratitude?
No matter what your faith, you probably have prayers or customs for gratitude. Even if you don’t, you can show gratitude through thoughts, words, and actions.
Gratitude in Thoughts
Think about what you have and be grateful for it. Be happy with what you have. It’s OK to strive for more, but don’t forget to appreciate what you already have.
Remember the Scout law – a scout is Cheerful.
Gratitude in Words
Say “Thank You” to someone who does something nice for you or gives you something.
It could be writing a thank you note to someone who has done something you appreciate – a teacher, a veteran, a parent.
This is also good manners, and a scout is both Courteous and Kind.
Gratitude in Actions
You may pray to thank your god for food or for other blessings.
You could do something nice for someone who has done nice things for you. Some of the scouts participated in the event yesterday that showed their gratitude toward veterans.
One of the best ways to show gratitude is to share what you have with others, like participating in the scouting for food drive that we have coming up.
A scout is Helpful.
So think about what you have to be thankful for and also think about ways in which you can show your gratitude.
To close, I’d like to share a Thanksgiving prayer from Rabbi Naomi Levy:
For the laughter of the children,
For my own life breath,
For the abundance of food on this table,
For the ones who prepared this sumptuous feast,
For the roof over our heads,
The clothes on our backs,
For our health,
And our wealth of blessings,
For this opportunity to celebrate with family and friends,
For the freedom to pray these words
In any language,
In any faith,
In this great country,
Whose landscape is as vast and beautiful as her inhabitants.
Thank You, God, for giving us all these. Amen.