A friend of mine was visiting me this week and had brought his pet dog Kody to visit as well.  It was a beautiful day and we went for a walk in the i Forest close to my house. As we walked the trails and climbed over beautiful boulders, there would be some cactus from time to time near the boulders.  Warning Kody not to get too close to them , we walked around them and made our way back to my house.  When we got to my house his dog sat down in front of him and held up his paw.  Upon closer inspection, my friend found a big needle from one of the cacti protruding from the pad of the paw.  The needle was taken out and my friend comforted Kody who licked his owner in gratitude.  This reminded of one of the most famous Aesop’s tales of gratitude is the Lion and Androcles. Androcles, a slave who was wandering in a forest, chanced upon an injured lion, which had a huge thorn stuck inside its paw. Androcles helped the lion by removing the thorn and gave the lion a new lease of life. Later, Androcles was captured, and thrown in a dungeon with a hungry lion. The lion rushed towards its victim, but it soon realized that Androcles was the same man who saved its life in the forest.

The lion did not attack the slave. Instead, it licked his face like a pet dog and showered the slave with love. That’s a simple story of gratitude that we tell our kids to remind them about the importance of gratitude.

Some of us realize from experience that when we give we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

Gerald Good states, “If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.”

Mindfulness teaches living in the moments given you every day and to enjoy them. But how many of us truly remember to express gratitude? In the daily humdrum of life, you forget to thank the neighbor who keeps a watch on your kids when you need to be away at work. You forget to thank the teacher, who stays back after school to help you with your school projects. You fail to express gratitude to your parents, who have immensely contributed all through your life. And who remembers to thank the librarian, the banker, the plumber, or the garbage pickup truck driver? And most importantly, how many of us remember to tell our husband/wife, children and extended family that they are loved every day and we are honored to have them as part of our lives and grateful for their love?

Gratitude should not be merely customary politeness. It should reflect a deep humility and love that we feel towards one another. Saying, “thank you” is just the beginning of expressing gratitude. To make gratitude go a long way, you should give back in any way possible. Just like the lion in the story.

William C. Skeath This is the finest measure of thanksgiving: a thankfulness that springs from love.

W. T. Purkiser Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

The benefits of thankfulness are many. A thankful heart has no place for arrogance, resentment, jealousy, or anger. In our current Presidential malignant narcissist behaviors we are bombarded daily with a person who doesn’t model gratitude but instead arrogance and negativity. We have to counter that. Gratitude expression will be one tool to use in countering negativity. You will often find that people who express genuine gratitude have a pleasant and amiable personality. When you express gratitude, you make friends. When gratitude is accompanied by a generous word of praise or two, relationships thrive. Also, a grateful person can hope to gain more favors in the future from his generous friends.

I thank God every day when I get up that I have something to do that day which must be done whether I like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know. You might want to try this behavior habit as well.

Noel Smith states that gratitude is not a spiritual or moral dessert which we may take or push away according to the whims of the moment, and in either case without material consequences. Gratitude is the very bread and meat of spiritual and moral health, individually and collectively. What was the seed of disintegration that corrupted the heart of the ancient world beyond the point of divine remedy…? What was it but ingratitude?

The story of gratitude in Aesop’s fable about the lion and the slave is a moral lesson where kindness and generosity triumphs. Even today, when the world is plagued by natural calamities people rise above these challenges with kindness. Teach your kids the importance of gratitude with these Thanksgiving thoughts. Remember to practice your own gratitude activities. Sow the seed of gratitude in children’s hearts early in life, so that they can grow up to be humble and appreciative human beings.  Thanksgiving reminds of that gratitude is not a once a year activity but a daily activity, that when practiced, brings us more blessings than anything else.

Wishing you and your loved ones the attitude of gratitude and the blessing that it brings.