Cheney Free Press -

Big or small, gratitude leaves footprints in society

In Our Opinion


A.A. Milne, author of “Winnie the Pooh” wrote, “Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”

As much as “Winnie the Pooh” has its origin as a children’s story, it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to go back and re-learn the lessons the friendly yellow bear and his friends taught us when we were younger.

In light of recent events, a focus on August’s PACE character trait “gratitude” seemed fitting. PACE defines gratitude as “feeling and expressing thankful appreciation for benefits received.”

The north area of Spokane County has been hit with huge wind storms that destroyed homes and left residents devastated. Wildfires in central Washington and Oregon have left whole cities charred to nothing.

People stepped in to help their neighbors and community.

Others, some not as directly connected, pitched in to help those who lost everything in these wildfires. Maybe they were simply trying to help out those in need, or maybe they were trying to “pay it forward.”

Natural disasters and wildfires can create a lot of tragedy and subsequently trigger people — far and wide — to lend a hand of all sorts.

Many Americans remember to embrace gratitude and grace during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. But after the holidays many go right back to getting caught up in their fast-paced lives and forget to slow down and be grateful for what they have or how far they have come in life.

Volunteerism is another thing many overlook in several ways. Volunteering isn’t contributing our time for a free T-shirt or free food. It’s about helping the community and those less able. Volunteers take time to help out with something for which they have a passion and understanding.

Acts of gratitude are easily remembered for the big things, while the other side of the spectrum tends to get overlooked.

Everyday gratitude is like an iceberg. It may seem small on the surface but the chain reaction can be huge. A simple “thank you,” a smile to someone passing by, holding the door for someone, volunteering for the sake of making things better and many other things could make a bigger impact than you could possibly imagine.

Grace and gratitude go hand-in-hand to give us a better understanding of each other. It can allow people to overlook the negatives and see the brighter side, lifting a weight off our shoulders that many of us forget to let go — stress. We don’t have to go above and beyond to be grateful, but just simply be civil and graceful.

Countless people neglect to be grateful for each other. When we acknowledge the people around us, we see another side to them. It may or may not be what you want to see in other people, but everyone is just trying to do what they believe is right. No one person is the same — they think differently, they have different beliefs but we all co-exist together.

Be thankful for your neighbors, family and friends because who knows when you are going to need a lending hand from them. A lot of things that happen are out of our control. Be prepared for the unexpected and the ungrateful.

The next time someone cuts you off in traffic or people start walking in front of you, step back and appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain and flowers.

Stop holding all this anger, stress and negativity on your shoulders. You may be surprised how much things could turn around for you. Being grateful is a key component of life in a whole and day-to-day.

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