Character Chats

What is Thankfulness?

Every month here at True Balance Karate, we have a word of the month. It’s part of our social emotional learning program, called True Character.

This month’s word of the month is thankfulness.

Thankfulness means, “I’m glad for all I have.”

Thankfulness is something we have that’s part of us. It’s something that should be part of our everyday routine, something that we do all the time.

Thankfulness is an attitude that we carry around with us. It’s something that we always say and something that we feel.

Attitude of Gratitude

One of the things we can do with thankfulness is to have an attitude of gratitude.

If we have an attitude of gratitude, we are always working to try to be thankful. We want to make sure, with an attitude of gratitude, that when somebody does something nice we say “thank you.”

We don’t want to expect people to do things for us. We don’t want to start to assume that people do things for us. We want to have the attitude that we walk around all the time saying “thank you.”

When somebody gets something out of the fridge for you, you just say “thank you.” You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to remember to do it. It’s just part of your attitude.

You do it every single time.

When a teacher helps you at school, you say “thank you.”

When you go to a restaurant and somebody brings you your food, you say “thank you.”

You want to have that attitude of gratitude.

When we do this, we feel much better on the inside. We feel happier and more content — we feel like a better person. We don’t feel like we always need something or always have to have something. We feel good with the things that we do have.

There are a bunch of different ways that we can show thankfulness at different times.

At the dinner table

For example, we can remember to try to show it at the dinner table. When you’re sitting down for dinner and you’re around your family, that’s a good time to say “thank you” for things that people do for you.

Say, “Hey, thanks, Mom, for picking me up at school.” And “Thanks, Dad, for making dinner. I appreciate it.”

Also, thanks to your dog for licking your face when you came into the door. And thanks to your cat for doing whatever it is that cats do. (Sorry, I’m a dog person.)

You can say “thank you” to your fish for swimming. Hopefully they are still swimming. Your fish say thank you to you by still swimming.

So when you sit down at dinner, you can show thankfulness all around you.

Sending a letter or card

You can show thankfulness sending a letter or writing a card.

When it’s a person’s birthday, you can send them a card.

You can have a time of the year that you just say “thank you” to those people around you.

Having that attitude of gratitude is something that we can have all the way on the inside of us. It helps us to be far happier.

Guarding our thankfulness

Sometimes we can have things that suck our thankfulness out of us.

One such thing would be commercials on TV. For example, you’re perfectly happy with your toy — no problem with it. Or for our older kids, nothing wrong with your current Xbox. It works just fine, and you love all the games on it.

But then you see that commercial for that new toy. It makes two dings instead of one. “Ooh, I need that,” you say to yourself. “I really want that toy.”

You see that new commercial for that Xbox — twice as fast as the previous Xbox — but you never noticed your last Xbox actually being slow.

Same thing with our phones. It seems like they come up with new phones all the time. I still don’t even know how to use the phone I have. I shouldn’t need a new one. There’s nothing problem with the phone you have. You never had any problems with it — you never thought of it until you saw that commercial.

So we want to watch and guard our thankfulness with some of those commercials that are out there. Sure, they want to tell us about their stuff. They want us to get it, to buy it, but we don’t want that to seep into our hearts and into our thoughts all the time.

Having a bad day

Sometimes having a bad day can sap your thankfulness. It’s pretty easy to get caught up with bad things that happen.

You see it with grown-ups all the time. They’re going to drive from home to karate class. And here in the Downers Grove/Westmont area, they might come across four or five hundred people, in the course of doing that drive at five o’clock.

And one of them cuts them off and beeps their horn. “Oh, what a bad day. I can’t believe it. We were driving here and there was such a jerk that cut me off.”

What about the 499 other people that were nice? Or the person that waved you into the light, or things of that nature?

We don’t want to have a bad day cut into our thankfulness.

So remember, we really want to be thankful. We want to hold that thankfulness in our hearts, we want to hold it on our lips.

We want to make it part of us all the time.

Thanks, and we’ll see everybody out on the mat.
– Master Helsdon