Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Random Act of Kindness:What is Gratitude? Part 1

"Viking Mom, what is gratitude?"

This is a good questions. This word, "gratitude" came up recently during my fundraiser. After observing people's attempts at gratitude I came to realize that people were confusing "Thankfulness, Gratefulness and Gratitude." They all have similar qualities but are three very different actions. 

How does a parent show gratitude in front of their children?

I decided this topic needed to be explored especially in this world that has become increasingly, materialistic, rude, self- centered and disrespectful. 

Lets put on our English teacher hats on and define the words.
I am using Dictionary.com for my definitions. 



feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.
before 900; Middle English; Old English thancful.  See thank-ful

beholden, obliged.




[grat-i-tood, -tyood] 

the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: 
He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.
1400–50; late Middle English  < Medieval Latin grātitūdin-  (stem ofgrātitūdō thankfulness, equivalent to grāt us pleasing + -i- -i- + -tūdin- -tude

o·ver·grat·i·tude, noun
un·grat·i·tude, noun

thanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness.




warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received;thankful: 
I am grateful to you for your help.
expressing or actuated by gratitude: a grateful letter.
pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome;refreshing: a grateful breeze.

Interesting that "gratefulness" and "thankfulness" are adjectives while "gratitude" is a noun. In the English language the adjectives give a description to the noun of the word. It is not the verb which shows action in the sentence. Gratitude, on the other hand, is a noun. In the English language the noun is the subject of the sentence. All elementary children sing the song, "A Noun: A Person, Place, Thing, or Idea." 

Showing gratitude is an idea. We show gratitude by conducting an "act" of thankfulness and gratefulness. 

To apply this definition to the actions of a few at the Fundraiser. 

Allowing unattended children to run freely in a portion of the garden after being asked not to do this act despite the requests of the Hosts (who had donated the $800 space)-- no it doesn't show gratitude. 

Giving a card and flowers in thankfulness and gratefulness to the sponsors and hosts---according to the definitions listed above, yes. 

I think our society needs to learn what real gratitude is and then model and imitate it for our children. I think it is often confused with "thankfulness" and "gratefulness."

More to follow.....

Viking Mom

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