It seems appropriate that the focus of December is gratitude as the “Christmas” season is usually considered a time of giving. People give gifts to each other and even to strangers through organizations such as Empty Stocking, Angel Tree, or Blue Santa. People even give their money to charities such as Salvation Army.

I believe gratitude can be expressed in giving. I am grateful for the stability of my childhood home: my parents, having enough to eat, clothes to wear, etc. so I sponsor a child through Compassion International so that a little girl in Mexico might have those things too. I am grateful for my and for health- our sponsorship pays for her medical care. I am grateful for my education; therefore we give to organizations such as the HU Lee foundation so that others will be able to continue their education.

Having gratitude means to be gracious. Gracious: living in a spirit of gratitude (thankfulness) and simply being kind. In my home we often encourage our children to live with a spirit of gratefulness- not to demand, but request with manners. To share, to be kind, to use manners. These things constitute a spirit of gratefulness which I believe a person who truly understands gratitude will have.

We use are abilities and resources to give back or “pay it forward” – not for compensation, or recognition, but simply to give generously because someone gave generously to us. That is what gratitude is all about. It is important that a Master of the ATA exhibit gratitude. This is how the organization will grow and flourish- when its leaders and instructors give graciously without expecting anything in return.

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