Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Art of Appreciation

firemenIn Why teachers should help lead a thankful revolution
Posted by Vicki Davis, she asks,

“How can we thank our law enforcement, EMTs, and all of those people who serve us every day? I'm looking for all kinds of ideas beyond having them come and sit at an assembly and taking food (I think they like the second one the most, from what I've heard.) What can we do to really shower and show gratitude to the heroes among us?”

I think showing our appreciation is very important but we also need to teach the younger generation how important it is. The best way of doing this is by example. Not only should we thank the many unsung heroes but we need to let our young people know why we are doing it and why it is so important. I know we tell students they should do random acts of kindness, I think it is also important they show planned acts of appreciation. Children learn from watching and if we are showing our appreciation and explaining to them why we are thankful and how important it is to show it, they will eventually learn the behavior and it will become second nature to them. Too many times I have heard people talk about the ungratefulness or selfishness of the younger generation but I wonder if it is because we aren’t teaching them. How many of them write thank you notes anymore? How many respond to their relatives when a gift is sent to them? I hear that many people don’t even do that anymore. I feel we have gotten kind of lazy in the art of appreciation.

At least twice a year, I bake banana bread and deliver it hot to the local fire department, police department, public works department, and public library. I put our name on the thank you card so they know that I really do appreciate all that they do. In the years past, I kept a small dorm refrigerator on my side porch filled with soft drinks for the city police (we live in a a small town). They would sit in the middle of the night and drink some soda while they filled out their reports. It was a small kindness that I could do for them in the hot summers when there was nowhere for them to get something to drink in the middle of the night.

During the summer program that I direct every year, I try to bring the janitors a dozen hot Krispie Kreme donuts every other week. They seem to love it and I want them to know that I realize they have extra work at the school because of my program and I appreciate all that they do.

Since there is no way to thank people the random acts of kindness that have been extended to us over the years, my husband and I became volunteers with the Red Cross. We help those in need during disasters such as fires and flooding. We have driven the Emergency Response Vehicle when needed, worked in shelters, and helped individuals when they have lost their homes due to fires and floods.

It is truly rewarding to be able to give back and show how thankful we are for the many people who have been there for us. It is vital that we show young people today how to show this thankfulness. I believe that many are thankful but I’m not sure they realize how important it is to show their appreciation.

Now, I ask my readers, “How do you show your appreciation to the many unsung heroes in your life?”

Please share.
Image: 'Firefighters'
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