Appreciation! This is the season for it, isn’t it? My children always had a month to get their thank-you notes out, so there’s still time for me this year. But from a grandmother’s perspective, it’s fun to see the different grandchildren’s immediate responses to their gifts.
The age ten granddaughter responded with squeals of delight to getting a Nook ($79 on Black Friday). She jumped up and down and clutched it to her chest (not yet quite enough there to say she clutched it to her breast.) Her delight was loud and boisterous.
On the other hand, age five grandson simply stared in astonishment at his little bike with the “Cars” theme ($69 at Toys R Us sale.) We could see him processing, but the only sounds that came out were a soft “Thank you for having training wheels!” Then he rose from the floor and approached it as though it were a mirage that could suddenly vaporize. “May I ride it?” he asked. And he joyfully rode it around the living room.
Which is better? Neither trumps the other, but his reaction did require close observation to see his appreciation. Later, he said to me, almost shyly, “Thanks for the bike. I always wanted a bike with training wheels.”
But the most important showing of appreciation is the daily, year-round expression of thanks. Thanks for taking out the garbage, thanks for opening the door, thanks for picking up the kids. Thanks for the delicious meal (or for cooking the hot dogs), thanks for doing the laundry, thanks for getting the kids to bed. So that’s his or her job? That doesn’t mean appreciation isn’t welcomed.
My opinion is that verbal appreciation is the most underrated aspect of a good relationship, whether marriage or work or parenting. In retrospect, I wonder if I showed enough appreciation to my children. I do recall a mantra I heard in a teacher seminar that I also incorporated into my parenting (and now grandparenting): “Catch them being good.” Noticing and showing appreciation to spouses, children, c0-workers, friends, and even strangers is a blessing to both the giver and the recipient.
Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. This year let’s focus on expressing the appropriate appreciation for what we receive, no matter how small.