Michael – Zen Teacher of Gratitude
Today I was sitting in our living room when Michael, our 3-year old, turns from his play and asks me a simple question. “Papa, did you buy Thomas (the tank engine) for me?” “Yes, mom and I did.” “Did you buy Percy (another Thomas character) for me?” “Yes, MIchael, mom and I did.”
“Oh, thank you Papa!”. The genuineness of this appreciation was clear. The amazing thing is, he regularly asks me these questions, and each time he express his appreciation as if we had purchased the toy just minutes before.
As I was considering this interaction, I realized what a teacher this little one is. How often do I take for granted everything in my world. Sure, I might appreciate something when it is new or when I specifically reflect on what I am grateful for. What Michael was showing me is that gratitude is a constant feeling.
Each time that Michael plays with his toys, it’s like the first time for him. He remembers how he received the toy. He remembers who gave him the toy. He then feels appreciation for the toy and for the giver. He is filled with joy and gratitude.
What would happen if I treated each moment like Michael? All that I encounter is fresh, and I appreciate it anew in that moment. What joy my life would be filled with! I am sure that I would not have room for anger or fear if I am living this way.