By Patty Chung
Try to recall a time when someone gave you an unexpected present. Did you just take it and go away or react by saying, “Pfff, what do I want with this?”? Mostly likely not! You were probably delighted to have been given something, gushed, “For me?” and thanked them for having thought of you.
It is said that “gratitude is an attitude”, an awareness of not having deserved or earned a gift. And the giving of the gift is due to the attitude of the giver’s heart. Now there are also situations when gifts are expected to be given or there are ulterior motives behind the gifting. These might be considered social practices or even bribes. With a true gift, there are no expectations attached.
But what if you have that ugly disease, the opposite attitude of gratitude called “entitlement”? We typically think of it as striking teenagers, but it can hit us at any age. “I deserve this” or “It’s my right” and instead of it being about the gift and its giver, it’s “all about me”.
Not all “gifts” are wrapped in pretty bows but are cloaked in suffering, tragedy, and loss. You might know the pain of losing a loved one, the fear of a hurricane, the helplessness of illness. But having lived through these sorrows, you might also know you are not alone, that there is help and encouragement from people who care about you. The gift? Being strengthened through adversity and equipped to give the same comfort that you received.
Probably the best gift of all is the blessing that comes when you are the giver. Whether the gift is a material item, a kind word, or a soothing smile, there’s no greater joy than to put someone’s needs first and uplifting them.
So whether you are a student enjoying the hospitality of your host mom or dad, or if you’re a host making a difference in a young person’s life, live generously, express gratitude and be blessed.