As the year winds down, the calendar fills up. Work, parties, time with family and friends make the fourth quarter pass at warp speed. The busyness of the season, cold weather and dark evenings starting earlier cause some to dread the holiday season. However, there’s an antidote to holiday blues that works every time: gratitude.
I’ve long felt that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness is the amount of gratitude you show, and this video from SoulPancake confirms it. Take note that it isn’t simply the amount of gratitude you HAVE but the amount you SHOW. That’s why I love the experiment in the SoulPancake video – asking people to write a letter to someone who impacted their life and then calling to read it to them. Because although most of us feel gratitude every day, how often do we take the time to stop and express it?
I’m inspired to see this gratitude movement spreading to our own communities. One of our Enid team members, Janna Rader, was recently the recipient of such a call. Janna donates dozens of hours each year to coach middle school softball, and one of her players called to explain how grateful she is for Janna’s support and encouragement. What’s even cooler? This was for a school project! Ms. Burns at Waller Middle School asked her whole class to participate, and she deserves to be recognized for taking time to teach gratitude this holiday season. It’s a life lesson more valuable than most things you’ll find in a textbook. Even the toughest of students couldn’t hold back tears when calling to express appreciation to their influential person, and that’s the thing about gratitude: it’s as meaningful for the giver as the recipient.
My family has a practice of sharing what we’re most grateful for at every meal – whether at home or in public. When at restaurants, I often ask our server to share with us as well, and it’s produced some great stories and meaningful conversations. You can see that simply being asked and having the opportunity to share their gratitude was a blessing to them.
Teaching people about gratitude and generosity is something we’re passionate about at Wymer Brownlee, too, and a core value we help many clients fulfill in how they pass on their wealth. This holiday season, I challenge you to answer two important questions:
- Do I express my gratitude every time I feel it?
- How am I teaching those around me – especially my children – about the importance of gratitude?
Maybe it starts with your family participating in SoulPancake’s experiment in gratitude. Or maybe you serve food together at a soup kitchen. Or adopt a family who can’t afford Christmas gifts. However you choose to show it, it’ll bless those who give, those who receive and those who learn by watching your example. Happy Holidays.
Blog by Kyle Brownlee, Chief Executive Officer.