“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”
G.B. Stern – See more at: http://www.write-out
As I listened to my oldest daughter and now son-in-law recite their vows, I was struck by a word they included; appreciate. They promised to appreciate each other in the days and years to come. This made my heart happy as I imagined the newlyweds beginning the choice and habit of expressing their appreciation to each other often.
I pondered this word and did a self-assessment; do I show appreciation to the people in my life? What would happen if each of us made the choice to show and tell our family, friends, co-workers and those in our world how much we appreciate them? How do we show our appreciation to others? The Merriam-Webster definition of “appreciation” is:
- A feeling of being grateful for something.
- An ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something.
Most of us take time to show our appreciation when someone helps us do something or serves us in a big way. We might send a thank-you note, flowers or some other gift to let the person know we acknowledge their help or contribution in our lives. But what about those ordinary, everyday things that people do for us?
Here are some ways to show appreciation to others:
- I was recently invited to a couples’ wedding shower. Guests were asked to bring a scripture or piece of advice to share with the engaged couple (I did both – you never know when there will be extra credit!) My advice for the couple was to make an “appreciation list”. Identify at least ten things you appreciate about the other person and keep the list handy for future reference. Make your own “appreciation list” identifying ways you appreciate your spouse, children, friends, family, co-workers and others in your life. Copy the list and share with the person – what a great gift to give someone!
- Write notes letting others know you appreciate them. You may decide to write one person each month. Put this in your planner or do it while writing bills, so you don’t forget. Think back and write teachers or coaches and let them know how much you appreciated what they did for you. Give a note to the person who cleans your office and restrooms. Yes, they are paid for this service, but I’m sure they would love to hear that you appreciate it!
- Give flowers or a small gift to express your gratitude. Don’t save this gesture for the big ways people serve you, do it for the little ways. Give your spouse a gift card to their favorite lunch spot showing your appreciation for letting you sleep in late on Saturdays while they get up with the kids.
- Pay back the action with an action. I have a friend who is so good at helping others behind the scenes, including me. She quietly gives to others in various ways many never know about. So, I decided to purchase several things I knew she wouldn’t buy for herself; I surprised her with ”just because” gifts. Give a gift card from a local coffee shop to your spouse because he/she starts the coffee each morning. Be creative in blessing others in the ways that they bless.
- For parents: be intentional about letting your children know you appreciate them, especially during the teen years and beyond. A note left on their pillow or in their backpack expressing why you appreciate them will fill them in ways you may not even know! Their lives are constantly changing and they could use a few encouraging words from Mom!
The idea of expressing appreciation may seem simple. But I know for me, life can get busy and hurried and I often forget to take time to tell or show people I appreciate them. I challenge you to find ways to show others that you do in fact notice and appreciate the big and small things they do for you!
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Philippians 4:8, NLT