Sometimes I'm slow to make connections and yesterday was one of those days. I wrote this post (you can read it here) that was selfish. It was all about me and what I do and need. The premise of Ciceros's quote is that gratitude is the parent of all other virtues. Did I even think about my children when I was writing the post? No! It wasn't until I read Chelsie's thoughts about parents and gratitude that I really considered this perspective.
How many times have I said to my children, "do you realize how blessed we are?" "There are children in the world who have very little, you are so blessed" I remember similar such statements growing up from my parents in hoping I would become less selfish, which clearly has not worked very well.
As parents, one of our responsibilities is to teach our children to appreciate the world around them. To help them see not only the things we do for them as parents but the ways in which other people bless their lives. We try and provide a framework for their future of gratitude and love. We work to help them avoid pride, envy, greed, slothfulness, gluttony, etc by helping them see beyond themselves and acknowledging God's hand in their lives. We try and teach them to look past things and see people and relationships.
"Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future. A recognition of and appreciation for our gifts and talents which have been given also allows us to acknowledge the need for help and assistance from the gifts and talents possessed by others. Gratitude is a divine principle." (Robert D. Hales, "Gratitude for the Goodness of God")
On a different note, I have an old planner that didn't work for me. I did love the paperweight and the stitched binding, but the format was difficult for me to write with. I decided that I would paint the pages and practice some patterns. Nothing fancy just practicing using acrylics which I don't use very often. I despised what was happening and had decided to throw the journal away and just work in watercolors which I love.
But then I remembered that had I recently told one of my children not to give up just because something was uncomfortable and difficult. As I went to my desk and found this journal that I had decided to throw away and found myself caught in my own hypocrisy. Working in a medium that is hard for me. I don’t like it and it is making me stretch and be uncomfortable and that is okay.
I wasn’t going to post any of the pages because they are messy, meaningless and I don’t like them, but then that is another way I am hypocritical. Life is messy. Learning or trying something new is always going to be hard at first. I may never love working in acrylics, but I am not going to give up yet. I’m going to see what happens as I push through the uncomfortable. Who knows what I might find out about myself. Trying to find more gratitude today and finding courage along the way.