As we get ready to celebrate Memorial Day this coming Monday, I have thought a lot about what this holiday means to me. I remember as a child going to my grandparents' house and cutting flowers from their garden to take to the cemetery. My siblings and I would help carry buckets of flowers around to put on the graves of our family members. As we did this, my grandpa and grandma would tell us stories about our family members and the sacrifices they made for us. At the time, I didn't fully appreciate the experience, and I am sure I complained to my mom about being tired and wanting to do something else. Now I look back, and I am so grateful for those experiences and the opportunity I had to learn from my grandparents.
Memorial Day is more than a day to take flowers to the cemetery. It is a day to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us to protect our freedom and our way of life. It is a day to be grateful.
Grateful because these men and women gave up their lives for us. Because of their sacrifices we have a life that's full of opportunities and many things to be grateful for.
As I thought about this, I thought about how many things my family has to be grateful for this year. While this year has definitely been an unprecedented one with many challenges for families across the world, there is still much to be grateful for in our daily lives.
For my family, Memorial Day is a great reminder to show our gratitude to those who have gone before us but also to show our appreciation for those who are a part of our lives today. Telling someone that we are thankful for them and showing them how grateful we are may seem like a small thing, but it can have a massive impact on someone's life.
Can you imagine a world where everyone was grateful for the things that were done for them? Even a simple act of kindness, like a smile, for example, could brighten someone's day and make them want to help again in the future.
You can make your life - and the world - better by expressing your gratitude!
This Memorial Day try these methods to show your gratitude:
1. Send a note saying thank you. Sometimes it is nice to read about how thankful a person is. Taking the time to write something down makes it more personal too.
2. Offer a free favor. Even if it is something small, do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. Think of what the person wants or needs and do your best to help.
Actions speak louder than words, and this simple act will show how grateful you are.
3. Give a little gift. A small gift doesn't have to cost much, but the act of giving them shows that you've thought about the person and that you are grateful for what they do for you.
4. Be happy for their achievements. Show someone how pleased you are with their achievement. A nice handwritten card or some flowers would be a nice thought.
5. Write a list. This will only take 5-10 minutes but will show just how much you care. Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of 10 or more things that you love about someone. Mention the things that they do for you that you are grateful for. Send that list to them.
6. Give them public acknowledgment. Not everyone will love being made a fuss of in public, but for some, public praise would be appreciated.
7. Send them a text. Send a text to a family member or friend telling them all your favorite things about them. This doesn't cost you anything, but it will have a significant impact on the person you send it to.
8. Just be there. Make an effort to be available for those you care about, even when things are not going well for you. When you are supportive of others, you are showing how much you care and that you're grateful for the times they were there to support you.
9. Surprise them with kindness. This works exceptionally well with your family members. Surprise your spouse with a lovely dinner or help your child with a chore they dislike. These simple tasks will mean a lot to them, especially if they are busy or stressed with very little spare time.
10. Look for the good in every situation. You may not always feel grateful for the things that are going on in your life. Especially now when you may feel as though things are going wrong. However, now is the time to be most grateful.
Look for those little things that are going right for you. Focus on these positives and be grateful for them. They can help take your mind off any negatives.
Notice the little things that others do for you, even in unpleasant situations. Let them know that they made a positive difference.
Growing up, my mom would say, "A rose for the living means more than a wreath for the dead." So, this Memorial Day as we are remembering those who have gone before us, remember that we never know how long someone will be in our lives, so let's show our gratitude to them today. And remember you don't have to make grand gestures to express gratitude. Even the smallest act can show someone how thankful you are for their love, patience, and sacrifice.