On this special holiday, we think a lot about giving thanks. Feeling gratitude and saying “thank you” is part of that equation, but sometimes actions speak louder than words.
When Gov. Mark Parkinson announced another $259 million in budget cuts on Monday, he included a personal apology to the people who would be hurt by those cuts and an appeal to Kansans who were doing well “to dig deep” and increase their contributions to the charities of their choice.
His message may have caught some Kansans off-guard. His sorrow at the cuts he was announcing seemed genuine. In urging people to step up charitable contributions he essentially was acknowledging that the state was failing to meet its obligations and the only answer was for Kansans to reach out and help one another.
The cuts are bad news for many Kansans, but Parkinson’s plea hits on what should be a fundamental part of giving thanks: giving to others.
The current recession has been hard on many Americans. At the same time, tax revenues are down, and governments are finding it harder to meet the increased demand for unemployment benefits and other social services.
Even so, many Americans who have jobs still can maintain their lifestyle with a little something left over. For that, they certainly should be thankful.
What better way to show their gratitude for their good fortune than to share some of their relative bounty with people who are struggling in this holiday season. Even people who are barely getting by may be able to share some time to help local social service agencies or charitable efforts.
A report in Wednesday’s Journal-World looked at scientific research indicating that people who show gratitude through words or deeds actually are happier, healthier and more willing to return a favor or do one for someone else. As one author pointed out, “You can’t be depressed and grateful at the same time.”
Gratitude is a healthy emotion that apparently grows when it is passed along. This is the perfect time for those of us who are fortunate enough to have time or money to share to put our gratitude into action by helping some of the many people around us who are in need.
It’s a special way of saying thanks and might even bring you a “thank you” in return.