The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post – a.k.a. The Power of Gratitude

[I haven’t been blogging a year yet but I figure the day before Thanksgiving I should probably dust myself off and write my first holiday inspired post.] It seems that science is catching up with religion. There are happiness gurus (positive psychology) like Shawn Achor (saw him on a Ted Talk) and others that study the psychology of happiness and have amazing things to tell us. However, they are some millnneia behind the major religions of the world, especially Christianity. So its official, 5 out of 5 scientists and religious leaders agree (can agreement really happen between those two?!?) that gratitude is a key to happiness. It is interesting that they both don’t say the same thing but rather compliment each other. The Bible tells you what to do and how to do it. The scientists tell you the results and why you’ll be glad you did it.

Tara is a student of mine (I Dragneted her name) that has seen leaps and bounds in term of her performance. She came as a very shy and timid person and she is still that way. She is very quiet and thoughtful in her lessons and after each lesson she is instructed by her parents to thank me for her lesson. This is new to me and it made me reflect on current and past students. Those who quit, those who burn out and cop attitudes of apathy or even arrogance, lack or slowly lose their gratitude. It took me some time to see it but it is a common denominator among them. Perhaps not the only one but a significant one.

Think about it. We see this in our daily lives and especially around this time of year. Black Friday….


I can’t remember when Black Friday became a “thing” but I am pretty sure its been sometime in the past 30 years. We didn’t always have it. We use to stay at home with our families, play outside, watch football, and eat leftovers. Now, however, we wait in line on Thanksgiving night or Black Friday Eve for stores to open at ridiculous hours to sell us junk we don’t really need so we can get a bargain to sooth our greed. Sure you can get stuff at really good deals but don’t you feel like a slave? Don’t you feel like you’re worshiping consumerism and materialism by bowing to the schedule of the retailer?

I have heard tale of stores now opening this year on Thanksgiving to get an earlier jump on Black Friday. This makes me sick. The mob, the majority have made black Friday what it is, a blatant and unapologetic support of obtaining stuff. I bet if you had to work on Thanksgiving you’d raise a little ruckus and fuss, no? Then why go to a retail store, buy their junk, and support them being open on Thanksgiving (or Black Friday for that matter)?


When I was young growing up in the Midwest, we couldn’t even think about shopping or eating out on Sundays because EVERYTHING was closed. Sound foreign? It happened less than 30 years ago. Forget about holidays and black Friday. It was unheard of.

As for me and my house, we are getting back to gratitude. In support of our initiative, we will not be participating in any shopping this holiday weekend. I would rather my family find gratitude with one another, for the needs provided, and for the extra “stuff” they already have. Oooooh….there is a really good sale going on at Cabela’s where I could finally get…NO! Sorry, that was a relapse. I think I did Black Friday once of twice in my life and it just gets into your system.

So back to Tara. I have no solid evidence, as my longitudinal study needs more time, but I am very sure that her attitude of gratitude has led to many musical successes in her short time learning from me. She may be shy and timid but she consistently has some of the best performances every recital. She enjoys playing piano. I think enjoyment and gratitude feed off of each other in a never ending positive psychological cycle. So get hooked on it. And for only $19.99, you can be part of our Attitude with Gratitude sys…..SORRY! It creeps up out of nowhere.

So I guess you could say that gratitude is my 2nd ingredient to academic excellence and life success. Joy and gratitude. How do you incorporate gratitude in your life, education, or homeschool?


[for a bigger rant on Black Friday from a different blogger…click here…fun stuff]

2 thoughts on “The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post – a.k.a. The Power of Gratitude

  1. That’s an interesting idea Jarod – that gratitude is one of the core components required for academic excellence. I did pretty well, but was an ungrateful brat. Then again, I was an unhappy ungrateful brat with an Asian Tiger mom, so my example doesn’t generalize too well.

    Anyhow, interesting post!

    • Amit, Thanks for the comment

      I don’t know if it is core component because I am sure you can get by academic without being grateful at all, but I think gratitude makes learning easier and more enjoyable. It puts your mind in a frame that is more conducive for learning.

      It sounds like you did pretty well despite your attitude eh? :). I think your happier human website is very cool.

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