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This is the time of year we look back, remember, assess, promise to do better, make new plans, or simply repackage old ones.

Looking back, January of this year was a particularly joyous one for my family. A new grandbaby came into the world, healthy and alert. We are full of gratitude for this new addition to our family.

Gratitude is a popular topic among podcast hosts, writers, and public speakers. Hidden Brain, hosted by Shankar Vedantam is one podcast I enjoy. His recent program, The Enemies of Gratitude, raised some interesting points.

  • It’s easier for us to focus on the bad stuff than the good
  • We focus on what annoys us and feel un-gratitude
  • We worry about the little things that don’t really matter
  • We fail to recognize our privileges

We are better people when we feel grateful and express our gratitude. We feel good when we hear others expressing their gratitude, even if they are strangers to us.

Gratitude calls for a more expansive view of the world. This world view is easy for some, but it is a skill that can be developed by everyone. Experiences that connect us to other people also increase our gratitude. Expressing our gratitude to others makes them feel grateful, too.

Studies have shown that people who are humanitarians, who do good deeds, are happier and grateful for what they have. Which brings me to the nonprofit world and our work. Those of us who work in this sector have the unique privilege of providing opportunities to our donors and volunteers to be humanitarians, right here, in our own neighborhoods.

A volunteer who packs grocery sacks of food or who reads to preschoolers or who builds a house, experience gratitude. They are honored to help, to give their time and money to make someone’s life better.

When we are hyper-focused on reaching our end-of-year monetary goal, I believe we tend to lose sight of The Why. Why our work is important. Who we are ultimately serving. And How we benefit our community. You make all this happen and I am grateful for you.

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