Thank a senior today. If “what for?” is your immediate response, give the matter another minute-and-a-half’s thought. Chances are, many of your life influences are now older adults, even if they were much younger when your paths first crossed. You’ve seen the bumper sticker: “If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.”
Sometimes unusual topics come up at Alzheimer’s Support Group meetings. Recently, ukuleles were the focus. Why ukuleles? Well, because one participant had been taught to play by a high school music teacher, and it changed her life. My friend, now a retired teacher herself, recounted times she had strummed that ukulele in teaching settings both at her school workplace and as Sunday school teacher and Vacation Bible School volunteer. Because that music teacher wasn’t too rushed or rigid or preoccupied to find time to invest, my friend’s life—and scores of other lives, through her—has been enriched.
She determined to thank a senior who had affected her life decades ago. It took some determined detective work. Of course her instructor had long since ended her teaching career. But my persistent pal unearthed an employee working at her alma mater who knew someone who knew someone. And she located her former teacher, now a resident at a nursing home.
If you choose to thank a senior, it needn’t involve media coverage and masses of roses. What was appropriate in this situation was a simple phone call. But that phone call simply flabbergasted a woman who was not expecting a burst of joy as she sat in her wheelchair that day.
Gratitude doesn’t just benefit other people. There is proven benefit. An attitude of gratitude is good for you. In just one example, Psychology Today cites scholarly work that backs up the principle scientifically in The Clinical Psychology Review. This is not a new idea. It’s simply under-employed. The Bible states flatly,”It is more blessed to give than to receive”; by giving thanks you enjoy a double blessing.
So, think about it. Who can you surprise with joy–A grandparent? A family friend you haven’t seen in years? That lady who used to live across the street? Your Little League coach? Be intentional. Don’t procrastinate. Devote a little time to thankfulness. Change the world, one smile at a time.