The Gratitude Rock

By: Tina Baiter

A few weeks ago I was having lunch with a group of friends when we started talking about odd habits. Perhaps my oddest habit is an affinity for playing with rocks when I need to unwind, ponder, or just relax for a moment.

As I shared this little quark with the group, we all had a few laughs at my expense. I guess it is a bit odd that I have a bag of rocks on my desk to play with when the mood strikes. And it’s odd that I would rather walk in the rocks and hear their “crunch, crunch, crunch” under my feet, than walk on a sidewalk. But for me, it works.

About a week after our initial lunch, I met up with one of the girls again at her house. Her husband couldn’t wait to tell me she had purchased me a gift. I wondered what it could be as I closed my eyes and placed out my hands in front of me. Much to my delight, it was a smooth rock engraved with the word “Gratitude” on it. I laughed a bit at the gesture, but on the inside, I was beaming with excitement.

As Thanksgiving approaches us tomorrow, I couldn’t help but share my story about the Gratitude Rock because it highlights something important about relationships. Relationships are made stronger by the simple gestures we do every day to show our gratitude to those we care about.

Of all the gifts I have received this year, the Gratitude Rock is one of my very favorites. The small gift echoes a lot about the person who gave it to me. It shows me they listen to my story, and they understand and accept me for who I am. Its simple message reminds me they are grateful to have me in their life. It symbolizes a funny moment that I will remember and laugh at each time I pick it up. And each time I look at my Gratitude Rock, it reminds me to be grateful for others in my life.

Small gestures make a big difference in building relationships. Obviously the type of gesture you make depends on what level the relationship you have with the other person is at. You would not make the same type of gesture to a business associate as you would to your best friend. Likewise, you would not give your boss the same token of appreciation as you would give your significant other.

Tokens of appreciation do not have to cost a lot. In fact, some of the best tokens of appreciation come in the form of hand written thank you notes or just because cards. If you have someone in your life you will see tomorrow, use the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday to show them how thankful you are to have them around. Then, don’t let the spirit die there. Make a commitment to improving the relationships in your life by doing at least one thing daily to gesture to someone how much they mean to you.

If this all sounds a little difficult or over the top for you, then I have a few suggestions for you to follow to help you get started.

Appropriate Scale

Never give a gift to someone that is too over the top. Often times people feel you are trying to buy their friendship or relationship, especially in a business setting, if the gifts you give are too lavish. That was what made the Gratitude Rock so special. It didn’t cost a lot, but it meant a lot because of the thought that went into it.

Connection

If you are looking for a small gift to give, make sure it has personal connection and engagement. If I were to give the Gratitude Rock to you, it wouldn’t carry the same meaning. Think of funny moments you have shared with someone, and then think of a way to capture that moment into a small object. One cheap option is creating a photo slideshow on-line to share with them. Animoto.com is a website that allows you to do this for free with very limited effort.

Investment

Remember each gratitude gift you give is an investment in a person. Small investments like sending daily text messages to your children telling them how much you care about them can pay big dividends later in life.

Happy pre-Thanksgiving! And thank you to my friend, Pam Reynolds, for my Gratitude Rock.

[Ed. Note: Tina Baiter is a correspondent for Living Every Minute. She is the co-author of The Green Beret Doctor’s Health Plan for Life. Please comment on today’s blog below.]

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