Does Being Grateful Lead to Love?

Exchanges Between Friends

Wendell Krossa

As Breech says, the capacity to permit and engage the freedom of the other is exceptional, as well as the ability to permit and enjoy the freedom of the other to be unique and different.  There is far too much pressure sometimes to control and manipulate; to change the other and stifle freedom.  So much offense occurs over differences, as Breech noted, when parties come to the meeting table.  It shows a maturing of human relating when we can enjoy the freedom of one another with all the differences, even if we are sometimes annoyed by those differences.   It is good to have another reminder of the role of thankfulness, as a balance to the drive to achieve, as valuable as achievement is.  One hopes to be an example to the younger generation by getting as much out of life as possible, while maintaining a balance and remembering what brings ultimate happiness and satisfaction.

Julia Tyack

I agree Wendell that Jesus is used as the historical touchstone for breakthrough on unconditional.   Some of the elements such as the woman taken in adultery are taken as not being authentic to him.  Nevertheless, it is important that these stories illustrate the insight of unconditional, rather than who they come from.  It is also important to add our own insights to this historical material, so that future people may also add their insights.

I too love the insight that Jesus and his table companions provide.  Breech says. “Those who held on to their identity as members of the endogenous eating group were not “fit for” the risks and uncertainties of being in the receptive mode. ….and even became violent.”.   Breech links the table of Jesus where fellowship was created by eating and drinking, to the Lord’s prayer adapted from Q.  What a great prayer it is when the added moralizing is deleted. “Father Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us what we owe those whom we have injured, as we ourselves forgive what is owing from those who have injured us.  And put us not to the test.”  “This is a prayer that those present at the meal respond to the freedom of each other not with hatred, but with a free and voluntary willingness to engage with the freedom of the other.

This prayer acknowledges the conflict that inevitably presents itself when we attempt to engage openly with the freedom of others. ”  This is exactly what Mandel managed to do.  He invited his would-be executioners and jailors to table of fellowship.   He took his ambushers as his personal bodyguards.

Breech points out that it is gratitude that makes us capable of loving.  They say that it takes values to drive events, actions, and commitments but gratitude  enables the impossible – the ability to voluntarily engage with the other in a mode of freedom.. 

 Here is a snap shot of the article in one of our newspapers which discussed the effects and benefits of raising children to be grateful.

Teaching Children to count their blessings is a life lesson well worth the effort.  Gratitude is more than an attitude; it makes the world a better place for all of us. (Teens who strongly connected buying and owning things with success and happiness reported having lower academic scores, more depression and a more negative outlook.  This article captures the same point as Michael Morwood in his book teaching children to pray.  “At a Brinstens’ modern white dining table, the family holds hands for their nightly ritual.  Arielle, 8 says she’s thankful for her grandfather, Horace, and how funny he was…Her third-grade pal, and sausages.  She had appreciation for things big and small.

As one takes time to recognize good fortune, the feelings of appreciation can increase.   What’s more, those who are less grateful gain the most from a concerted effort.  “Gratitude treatments are most effective in those least grateful. Eastern Washington University psychology professor, Philip Watkins said,  122 primary kids who were taught a week-long curriculum on the concepts of giving, showed increased gratitude according to a study due to be published next year in School Psychology Review.  .. The old adage that virtues are caught, not taught, applies here.” .. University of California Professor Robert Emmons says  “Parents need to model this behavior to build their children’s gratitude muscle.”  … “I think the most important thing for us adults to realize is that we’re not very grateful either.”

The mere act of giving thanks has tangible benefits. (study).  Grateful teenagers achieve better academic results, less depression and envy, and a more positive outlook than less grateful teenagers. (Study)  “Materialism had the opposite effect to gratitude, almost like a mirror. … final line – UC Davis Emmons believes gratitude is easier for kids.  Kids have a natural affinity to gratitude.

I agree Wendell that Jesus is used as the historical touchstone for breakthrough on unconditional.   Some of the elements such as the woman taken in adultery are taken as not being authentic to him.  Nevertheless, it is important that these stories illustrate the insight of unconditional, rather than who they come from.  It is also important to add our own insights to this historical material, so that future people may also add their insights.