Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Lessons on gratitude

Last night a thought crossed my mind. Two days ago, I had arranged for the distribution of the prizes for the first semester. Those who helped me pack the prizes were surprised at the quality and quantity of them. They said, 'this is too much!'. Yet, I did not cut back on the list. But what surprises me is that none - not even one among the 83 Brothers - who received the prizes came and said a word of thanks! Neither to the administrator who financed it, nor to me who facilitated it.

As I thought about this, I was wondering if I need to point it out to the Brothers... just as a help to grow in the art of gratitude and acknowledging the good being done (even if it comes from someone not appreciated!). But somehow I could not find sufficient rationale to point out this to them.

And today, here's a note from Fr Ivo's blog ... all about expecting gratitude. And I quote something that struck me from therein...
George Kollashany in a Goodnight long ago on the street boys ministry: Those for whom we have done least by way of material benefits are the most grateful. It seems that what they appreciate most is the fact that we have treated them as equals. Often we forget this when we bring these boys into our institutions.
The key to this dilemma then is not whether to expect gratitude or not, but to ask oneself with what attitude was that kind act done. If done for gratitude, then it loses its merit of being a 'kind act' and if done without expecting gratitude, then whether someone thanks or not makes no difference. I hope I'm right with that.

1 comment:

  1. Vincy, you are coming to the heart of the matter.

    I am trying to put it like this:

    I am called to live with gratitude and thankfulness. No question of that.

    When I do something for someone else, I am called to let go of my desire for gratitude.

    The complication is when I am an educator. What then? I think there is place for education to gratitude. So I would simply put both sides to the seminarians or whoever.

    With the school children this morning, I stopped at the first point, so as not to confuse matters. There is a time for everything, after all.


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