Gratitude is an important component of any leader's life. Gratitude keeps you grounded, realizing that the world does not revolve around you. Gratitude helps you avoid the dreaded "entitlement mentality" - the idea that you deserve all the good that comes your way simply because you are so cute and special.
Gratitude is important for relationships. People WANT to be around others who are grateful. Most people avoid those who are ungrateful or selfish.
Gratitude is important for your own mental and physical health. Did you know:
"A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance." [The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.]
Some kids’ ministry leaders tell me they really enjoy working in their church with their pastor. I ask, “When was the last time you told him?” Sometimes, it’s very recent, but others admit it’s been a long time.
Don’t just feel thankful—express it in a way that communicates your heart.
For appreciation to be received, it must be sincere. Don’t just go through the motions and hope it works out okay. If you’re not feeling thankful, take time to pray. Ask God for eyes to see what He sees so you can overlook some of the difficulties and really appreciate the phenomenal opportunity to reach kids for Christ in your church.
In the past few years, I’ve tried to make gratitude a normal part of my communication. I send my pastor thank you notes for all kinds of things, and even more, for being a terrific leader and friend. Sometimes, I give him small gifts to show my appreciation. I want him to know that I don’t take him for granted. Notes, words, and gifts let him know I’m very thankful for him as my leader and the blessings that come from serving in this church.
How about you? Do you have an entitlement mentality or an attitude of gratitude? Do you merely FEEL gratitude or do you express it? When was the last time you wrote a note, sent an email, or verbally thanked your pastor? He gets enough negative letters and emails. Take the time now to send something positive. Express your gratitude.