1 December, 2016
The Gift of Gratitude
‘Thank’ and ‘you’ are two of the most basic words in the English language. Yet, when combined they can have a powerful impact on people.
When travelling to a country for the first time, I have always found that learning the phrase ‘thank you’ in the local lingo is a most useful way to connect with people and bridge cultural and language divides. In fact, I can attest that ‘thank you’ accompanied by a smile can get you through many challenging situations.
Thankfulness is an expression of gratitude. Studies have shown that gratitude is a powerful and healthy emotion that consistently increases wellbeing. It was English author G.B. Stern who said: “Silent gratitude isn’t much good to anyone,” and she expresses an important truth. Our wellbeing is only truly fulfilled when we turn it into something that we at ADRA Australia call ‘well-giving’. In other words, when we give expression to our gratitude by saying ‘thank you’ to someone we also increase their wellbeing and so begin a ripple effect that spreads from person to person.
It is with a great deal of thankfulness that I reflect on the efforts I have witnessed in the past few months of countless volunteers and supporters to further the work of ADRA in Australia and around the world. I am grateful for people who give incredibly generously of their time to manage ADRA op shops and projects around Australia.
Voluntary service given with joy because they believe it fulfils their purpose in life. I am thankful for supporters who have raised funds for ADRA’s work during October, whether through community fundraisers like trivia nights and open gardens or knocking on doors and collecting at traffic intersections. A sharing of their gifts of creativity, caring and conversation in the service of others.
And I am blessed too by those who choose to share their thanks with ADRA, like the supporter who surprised me in a news agency queue recently just to say that he’d sent in another donation and that ADRA was his favourite charity.
A little bit of thanks goes a long way to making us all feel blessed. So thank you to you, dear reader, for your contribution to ADRA.
Mark Webster is CEO of ADRA Australia.