G: Gratitude – What It’s Really Like

G: Gratitude – What It’s Really Like

This post is part of a series titled, “A-B-Cs – What It’s Really Like”. Each week a new letter and its word will be revealed. Each word’s explanation will illustrate significant personal meaning, application and ultimately demonstrate, What It’s Really Like… 

(The above image is a handmade Japanese Thank You card that I received a few years ago from a colleague of mine.  The symbol means, “Grateful”.  I kept it and hung it nearby as a reminder to always to show gratitude toward so many of the blessings I have been granted.)

“Too many of us conduct ourselves on the Cafeteria Plan – self-service only.” – GMa

Gratitude is a form of expression that routinely gets lost upon us throughout our lives.  Most of us see what is around us and constantly desire more rather than appreciate all that we have.

I recall back to sometime around 2009 when Gatorade was attempting to rebrand itself with a marketing campaign using the simple slogan, “What is G?”  Their video commercial spots were of past, present and future standout athletes and their milestone achievements while endorsing or using Gatorade.  This created a buzz around the sports drink because people actually began to seek out the answer to the company’s question, “What is G?”  Many of us likely remember thinking that Gatorade was getting set to launch a brand new sports drink line with an updated formula, only to find that “G” is the same old “G” that it always was.

That's G

So what is G (Gratitude)?  To me, it’s what it has always been.  A regular dose of good old fashioned humility mixed with respect and appreciation for things that have been granted to you.  Few have the recipe memorized, many need to write it down, and most have lost or forgotten the ingredients all together.  I fall into the category of needing to write it down; much like I am doing right now in composing this post.  However, I have discovered over time the more you cook with it the easier it is to remember its taste.

“We stand on the shoulders of those that have come before us.”

I coached football with a man who regularly recited this quote to remind our players that a great gift and responsibility had been granted to them; one that was built by those who came before them.  It was crucial that while representing oneself and family to uphold its legacy with honor and integrity.  This is the ultimate non-verbal form of gratitude.

I am in no way a self-made man.  I owe most of what I have to my parents because I am a testament of their love, hard work and dedication in raising me to who I am today.  Beyond parental efficacy and self-determination, how did I get here?  I certainly didn’t accomplish this on my own.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize the shoulders my family and I have stood upon in order to build what we have today.  So many friends and family have provided unbelievable grants toward opportunities that my wife and I could have never imagined.  The depth of gratitude goes beyond monetary assistance that never could begin to be repaid; like the introduction to a new career and the opening of a home for temporary residency until a permanent home could be found.  None of our recent personal/professional advancements would be possible without my brother and sister-in-law.  Before that it was a chance my friend’s finance (now wife) took on me as an employee of a local university to help me get admitted to graduate school when my GPA did not qualify.  Presently, it is the belief and encouragement from a high school friend that allows me the ability to connect with you doing something that I love.  For that I am very grateful to you for the opportunity, Sara.  The depth of gratitude can never be measured because the weight of its importance is infinite. 

Gratitude is more than manners.  It is mindful, genuine appreciation.  It’s a handwritten note that recognizes and expresses thanks.  It’s a gesture to reciprocate.  It’s paying it forward and then paying it back.  It’s time we start cooking up more of that “gratitude attitude” rather than just on the last Thursday in November.

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Husband. Father. Brother. Teacher. Coach. Sports fan. Weather geek. Backyard vacationer.

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