Gratitude isn't Optional

Gratitude usually isn’t a problem — but a lack of gratitude sure is. One thing I picked up from Zig Ziglar involves thanking members of our military:

One way that gratitude was demonstrated in Zig’s life occurred when he saw military personnel. Every time we would see a service person in uniform he would stop, shake their hand, and say in his booming Southern drawl, “Thank you for your service.” It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, he would always take the time to thank them. (

We don’t see many military in uniform around here as we’re not near a base. However, when I see one I remember what Zig did, and do the same.

Once of Zig’s associates (like I imagine many others who heard Zig) adopted the practice, and passed it along to his son as well.

After watching Mr. Ziglar do this dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of times, I began implementing it into my own life. … Since I was traveling with a young child, we were able to board the plane first and we had seats fairly close to the front of the plane. I was sitting next to the window and my son was sitting in the aisle seat. Actually, he was standing up in the seat greeting the passengers with a smile as they entered. Soon a gentleman in his uniform walked in. As he passed, my three-year-old with his sweet young voice looked up at him with his thick tongue elocution and declared, “Thank you for your service!” The soldier, gray haired, a bit weathered and sure to have seen several tours of duty—our hero—stopped. He turned around, looked at my son and pointed his finger directly at Evan, and said,

“And you’re the reason I do it.”

Then he did what could only be written in the best of Hollywood’s movie scripts. He ripped off a badge on his shoulder—that proud Army emblem—and he handed it to my young son.

Perhaps a lack of gratitude hurts the most. For our military, they’re out there on the front lines, staying awake so we can sleep well. Imagine what they feel when they turn on the news and see the vile names they’re called — and the only reason protesters and politicians can spew their venom is because those brave souls serve.

It’s the same with parents and children. You struggle and strain to provide for your children, always hoping they’ll have a better life than you did. And what do you get? Name-calling. Ingratitude. It hurts.

It just might be the most hurtful thing you can do to a person is fail to show gratitude.

It just might also be the most hurtful thing you can do to God is fail to show gratitude.

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