Gratitude (Or Lack Thereof)

One day last fall, Billy ran in, deposited a pile of rocks on my desk, then dashed into the kitchen and rummaged in a drawer for a ziplock bag.

“What are you doing?” I fairly shrieked. My desk is always the dumping ground for everybody’s stuff. It was a bad habit that had to stop.

“I’m getting a bag for the rocks,” he said.

“Why?” I yelled. We already have way too many rocks in the house. Everybody seems to have a collection of them. Silly me, I think rocks belong outside. It is a battle that I lose constantly. “Just put them in the baskets in your room with the rest of them.”

“But these are for you,” he explained as he put the rocks in the bag.

“I don’t want any rocks,” again, not politely spoken. “I don’t need any rocks. Rocks belong outside.”

“You’re supposed to say ‘Thank you’ when somebody gives you a present,” he said kindly while zipping the bag closed.

I paused. I’m always good at showing appreciation for the ugliest of weeds brought to me clenched in little fingers. I proudly display coloring book pages filled in monocromatically with a child’s favorite color. A child’s gift to his mother, no matter how seemingly useless or unattractive, deserves special recognition.

Any gift from any person, human or Divine, deserves special recognition.

Even if it is a pile of rocks.

I humbly said my thanks, and the boy scampered back to the great outdoors.

The rocks are still in my desk drawer although I’ve considered often that I ought to get rid of them. When I did my recent office clean-up, I transferred them to a small plastic container, but in my drawer they remain. They remind me to give thanks in all things, even if I don’t really think it’s such a great gift.

That unwanted present just may contain a vital lesson in humility and gratitude.

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9 thoughts on “Gratitude (Or Lack Thereof)

  1. Great post Michelle. Thank you for this reminder to be greatful.

  2. I love this! That was so sweet of Billy, and beautiful of you to open your heart. Those little ones of ours are so good at humbling us!

  3. You are such a sucker. Your kids can play you like a fiddle. I love you and all, but….You need to have Billy see you take the rocks outside and tell him that you have appreciated the beauty of the rocks, and now you are going to arrange them in a beautiful grouping outside, so that you may enjoy them there.

  4. Wonderful post. I love that he remembered you should be thankful when given a gift.

  5. Good one! I have a gift rock I’ve held onto, but it doens’t have the good story or lesson. But now I’ll remember. 🙂

  6. Well, they DO look like very SPECIAL rocks…. (sorry for the caps; I don't know how to find italics here)I like Barb's idea – especially if you wait until spring, when one of the kids is bound to give you a plant or some flowers.P.S. Talk to Tommy about rocks & Maine!

  7. Very true. My Church School co-teacher taught a lesson on Sunday about how gratitude is part of Thou Shalt Not Steal.(but I have to say, I’m also a big fan of rocks being outside)

  8. Wonderful thing to remember for all of us parents!

  9. This must be an army thing. John got a big rock as a going away present today. Rocks. Yippy!

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