Submitted by Kathy Paddock

What are the first words a toddler learns to say?

Dada, mama, and bye-bye? Yes, of course, but also near the top of the list would be these little words: Please and Thank you.

It took our parents and grandparents years of teaching, reminding, and prompting to instill habits of politeness in us. And then we were tasked with teaching the next generation. Who hasn’t heard or said the following: A birthday present! What do you say? Tell Grandma or Auntie thank you. You’re not going anywhere until you get those thank-you notes written!

Most of us have progressed beyond the automatic repetition of words we learned as children. We try not to take the good things in life for granted. We strive with varying degrees of success to stop complaining. We try to remember our blessings … at least when we are prompted to do so on Sunday morning.

Maybe we need to adopt a gratitude lifestyle. What would that look like? Suppose gratitude was an everyday thing and not just something to save for special occasions like a sigh of relief after a close call in traffic, a prayer for a family member who has recovered from a long illness, or a long-awaited merit bonus at work.

Want to take gratitude to the next level? The little blue box can help. Its presence on the kitchen counter, night stand, or dresser is a constant reminder that is difficult to ignore. And sometimes we all need a little reminder to say thank you “for all the blessings of this life.”

Our Ingathering, or blue box collection, will be held on Father’s Day, June 16.