My wife and I took a weekend vacation to St. Augustine, FL a couple of weeks ago, while the kids were with their grandparents. It was nice to get away and spend some time together. For those of you who don't know, St. Augustine is a beach town on the coast with some cool history and some nice places to enjoy the beach. We walked around downtown, ate out, did some window shopping, got a couple of free samples of beef jerky, and spent some time at the beach. While we were there, we road around and looked at some of the houses in the area, particularly those right on or near the beach. I'm in the very early stages of developing a real estate empire, so I enjoy looking at real estate when I travel, just for fun. While we were driving around, I found myself thinking, "man, I would really love to live so close to the beach, wouldn't that be awesome? One day I'd love to have a house close to the beach". This would be a totally logical line of thinking except for the fact that I live on a beautiful island that is a vacation destination for people all over the world and we are A MILE FROM THE BEACH!! I caught myself, and wondered what in the heck is wrong with me. We just moved into our home, did some remodeling, and now live in a wonderful home that is just a short bike ride to the beach. It's really an awesome spot, and as we drive around and look at beach homes in another town, it's like I forgot all that. I really am grateful for what we have, particularly as it relates to our home.
I think that sometimes we just "forget" or we get so wrapped up in wanting, that we don't take time to constantly pause and reflect on everything that we have. Maybe it's just me, and it means I'm not a good person. If that's the case, it's a good thing there are only two people reading this blog.
It is so important that we take time to recognize what we have, and be grateful for all of those things. I really believe that our daily mindset, our approach, how we present to and love others, is a reflection of our gratitude for life, possessions, the people around us, etc.I worked with someone once who used to say, "Don't take for granted what other people are praying for". I thought that was a good way to phrase it. He was speaking to our basketball team, and was trying to drive home the fact that our kids had an opportunity to play, practice, travel, wear nice gear, etc. while others may not have those same opportunities due to injury, economics, lack of ability or opportunity. I'm sure most moms, at some point, have used the, "there are starving kids in Africa, you need to clean your plate" line. While I understand and feel badly that there are people who struggle for food, and also understand the perspective of the coach I worked for, I don't think our gratitude should be solely contingent on the fact that other people don't have what we have. I believe we should be grateful for the things that we have because we should be grateful for the things that we have. We should love our children not because someone else doesn't have children and we do, but because we love our children, they matter to us, and we want to express that. We should invest in the players that we coach not because other people don't have players to coach, but because we love and care about our players, and want them to grow into the men and women that they are capable of becoming. We should be thankful for all the things that we've been blessed with, and we should not be afraid to express this gratitude to others, to our Savior, to our family, or to ourselves on a daily basis.
The girls that I coached at Piney Grove would say thank you after almost every practice. It was the most amazing thing to me, not because they owed me a thank you, or I expected it, but because it was a daily expression of gratitude. They were thankful that someone was coaching them, investing in them, or recognized that I was putting time in there when I could have been doing something else. I don't really know each of their reasons for saying thank you, but it meant the world to me. I felt appreciated, and it made me even more grateful to be able to coach them.
I encourage you to use the word Thank You frequently and meaningfully. I encourage you to be grateful for everything that you have . There could always be more, or better. Be grateful for what is in front of you.