“ I challenge you to have an attitude of gratitude.” One Sunday morning not long ago I listened to John Neufeld the pastor at Winnipeg’s Meeting Place give a sermon about having an attitude of gratitude rather than one of entitlement. It really got me thinking. Neufeld said many people have a sense they are owed things, that they have a right to things. Often that sense of entitlement prevents them from being thankful.
He used the example from the Bible of the ten lepers Jesus heals. Nine had a sense of entitlement. They felt they deserved to be healed. Only one was truly thankful and turned back to express his gratitude to Jesus.
Neufeld invited the congregation to accept a challenge in the coming week and see how many times we could adopt an attitude of gratitude rather than one of entitlement. I decided to try it.
On Monday I wrote a letter to the management company of our condo building. I had expressed my displeasure several weeks ago with the messy state of our parking garage. They responded immediately cleaning things up, sweeping and providing extra trash containers. I could have felt entitled. After all I pay hefty condo fees. I’m entitled to a clean garage. Instead I decided to write a thank you letter expressing my pleasure and appreciation for their prompt response to my concerns.
Another day I sent a thank you note to my cousin and his partner who’d had my husband Dave and I over for supper. They had prepared one of our favorite meals, Asian hot-pot. The number and variety of ingredients they provided for hot-pot cooking was unbelievable. They had bought a special wine to accompany our meal and had selected nice background music. I could have felt entitled to the meal. After all we’d had them to our place previously for supper. They owed us a dinner. Instead I adopted an attitude of gratitude and sent them a note of appreciation for their kind hospitality
On Thursday I took time to contact the Apple Store at Polo Park. I had made an appointment at their Genius Bar to have someone look at my lap top. My photo program wasn’t working. A young man named Andreas waited on me. He patiently opened a new photo library for me and helped me find all the photos I had downloaded from my camera in the past and feared I’d lost. He showed me how to use my time machine application to save materials to my external hard drive. He was even patient when my husband who was with me started peppering him with questions about his computer at home. I could have felt entitled to Andreas’ service. After all I’m a good Apple customer and own four of their products. Instead I contacted the store and told them I had appreciated the courteous service I’d received from their staff.
On Friday I gave a Winnipeg Art Gallery tour to a grade four class. They were an excellent group, eager to answer questions and make observations. At the end of the tour I thanked them for their cooperation and enthusiasm. I could have felt entitled to their time and attention. After all they had come to the gallery as part of their academic program and their teachers expected them to be courteous and listen to me. Instead I thanked them for their exemplary behavior.
I had many other opportunities to make a choice between gratitude and entitlement last week. Adopting a more thankful demeanor inspired me to look for the positive and not take things for granted. I want to continue to foster an attitude of gratitude.