Become a pessimist – break the link between getting and gratitude

Children don’t seem to say ‘thank you’ in public. This worries me. Not because I worry about ‘values’, but because I worry about ‘expectations’.

The word ‘expectation’ has two meanings. It can mean ‘looking forward to’ or ‘it is my due.’

Saying ‘thank you’ is a way of expressing gratitude. If you are often grateful, then you will develop the habit of looking forward to the next good thing to come your way so that you can say, “Thank you!” again.

But every time you don’t say ‘thank you’, you break the link between getting and gratitude. Soon you will have the habit of believing that receiving is your due. And then, when you don’t receive as expected, you will be resentful.

The one habit breeds optimists and the other breeds pessimists. What habit have you developed?

More important, what habit are you passing on to your children?

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photo: Alison Hattingh 2010

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