Last week my friend Rick asked me to lead a conversation about generosity with his company’s general managers from across the globe who were in town doing some planning. So, one evening after dinner the fifteen of us talked about gratitude. We allowed stories about people to whom we owed a debt of gratitude. I was struck when over half the group said, without hesitation, that their spouse is the person to whom they were most grateful. It seems that when we expose our vulnerability to someone so close, they in turn give generously of themselves.
This act of simply contributing to the well-being of another is the most powerful and underrated form of generosity. No money is given, no volunteer hours recorded.
Another person recounted the story of his grandfather. As the youngest grandchild of this 99 year old, he was filled with gratitude for his grandpa modeling a great attitude toward life despite its challenges. As a twelve year old, he asked his grandpa, “How are you today Pa Pa?” The mostly blind man sitting on a porch in his wheelchair (his legs amputated after WWII) took the big magnifying glass down from his one good eye and said, “I’m doing fine today boy. If I could stand up I’d go plant a tree!”
With tears in his eyes, this tough 40 year old said, “My Pa Pa taught me that attitude is everything. I’m grateful for that.” Again, simply contributing to the well-being of another person is the most powerful and underrated form of generosity. No money is given, no volunteer hours recorded.
To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude? How will you let them know? Can you do it today?