“Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerubaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel”. Judges 8:34-35.New King James Version.
Although Gideon had risked his life as he fought for the children of Israel against the Midianites, his seventy sons save one were killed by his beneficiaries when he died in a conspiracy(Judges 9). But it is interesting to note that the Bible first records that it was because they did not show gratitude to God that they were unable to show gratitude to Gideon. Relationships thrive better where gratitude is present. Our gratitude to God serves as a platform from which we can show gratitude to people. We may do this so well to strangers but the truly courteous person is the person who is courteous at home.
Most of us first learn how to express gratitude in our homes when we start learning how to use the magic words. As we grew older, the grunts of adolescence slipped into adulthood and often we find ourselves bereft of showing gratitude to the people who matter the most. It is necessary then to retrace our steps as we may inadvertently be taking our family members for granted. Children should be taught to express thanks at home, for meals, chauffeur and laundry services to mention a few. As models, we should also show gratitude to children and allow them see us expressing gratitude to our own parents.
Gratitude to our elderly parents can be expressed by inquiring after their welfare regularly. We should give to them regularly commensurate to our income rather than using the fire brigade approach. Neither should we equate these material gifts with our presence. It is foolishness to suddenly have enough time and money for a burial ceremony when they are no longer around. Many of such ostentatious ceremonies have been driven more by guilt than care.
Our friends should also be shown gratitude. Calling them only when we need a favour might be an indication that they are being taken for granted. On a regular basis, we should let our friends know that we appreciate their friendship. Helping them to achieve some of their goals while celebrating their achievements is also showing gratitude.
It is also courteous to express thanks to people regardless of their social class. Not only should doctors or teachers be appreciated but waitresses and bus drivers.Our Pastors also need to be appreciated.Giving back to the society via voluntary work or taxes is showing gratitude.
Our ability to show gratitude to God is a prerequisite for showing gratitude to others. Gratitude is not only a preserver but an enhancer of relationships. The benefits are immeasurable and saying “Thank you” daily can be a catalyst for improved relationships.