Let us Remember and be Grateful

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

Nov 26, 2019

When the Vietnam War ended and the prisoners of war were finally released, I was teaching second grade and supervising student teachers at a local elementary school.  One of my student teachers was Glenda Jones, wife of POW Neal Jones, an air force pilot who had been shot down over Vietnam early in the war.  He was paraded through the streets of Hanoi on national TV and held as a prisoner for over six years.  When Neal returned to the United States, his wife, Glenda, invited him to visit our classroom.  He told us of being kept in isolation for months with a severely broken arm and other injuries left untreated, of lying helplessly in his bed, and waiting to die.  Just when he had given up all hope, there came a tap on the wall from an American in an adjoining cell.  In Morse code, his fellow prisoner asked, “Have you prayed?” For him, he said, that was the turning point.  He began to pray, and he knew he would make it.  The following Christmas after Neal visited my classroom, our family received a Christmas card from the Jones family.  On the cover was an American flag and inside the card were the poignant words, “Let us remember and be grateful.”                

November is typically thought of as a time for gratitude.  On the fourth Thursday of the month, our country has set aside a legal holiday for giving thanks.  Webster’s Dictionary, however, defines gratitude as a state of being grateful, implying that gratitude is not a one-time event but an ongoing process.  Oprah Winfrey captured its essence in an early issue of her magazine when she challenged readers to develop an attitude of gratitude.  “Being thankful,” she wrote, “is an art to be cultivated and practiced moment to moment…Accept with an open heart whatever is going on in your life right now…and make each day a holiday of thankfulness.”   

A monthly calendar and series of related articles gave concrete, practical suggestions for giving yourself and others the gift of gratitude. Here are some suggestions that stood out to me because they were similar to some that have helped me and my students, friends, and family over the years:  

1. In a journal, write down or illustrate five things you are grateful for, and share one at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.  My family members sometimes roll their eyes, but indulge me on this one.   

2. Write down five things you appreciate about another person, and give them the list.  Try it with a colleague at work, a classmate, friend or family member. My former students recall receiving such a list from their classmates as a life-changing event for them. At one of our family Thanksgiving dinners, we did a slight variation of this; we drew names at the dinner table, and said two things we appreciated about the family member whose name we drew. I still recall our grandson Samuel’s words as he shyly said, “I’m thankful for Papa because he does fun things with me.”  

3. Write about a special memory and the people you shared it with.  Call one of the people to reminisce.  After reading this suggestion, I located Glenda and Neal Jones whom I had not talked to in many years.  Their attitude of gratitude is still contagious.   

4. Watch for opportunities each day to thank someone, including those you do not know, for acts of kindness, service, or a job well done.  Be specific.  

5.  Create your own way to “remember and be grateful,” keeping in mind that “silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” (Gladys Stern)  

6. And, last but not least, give thanks to God knowing “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father.” (James 1:17) This week, Olivia, our three year old granddaughter, eagerly asked to say the blessing at dinner.  Her words were simple, sincere and familiar, but powerful, “God is great! God is good!  Let us thank Him for our food. Amen.”  

On this 40th Anniversary of Lofton Staffing, you make it easy to “remember and be grateful”.  Thanks for your ongoing caring, commitment, and support.  

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Celebrating 40 years in staffing excellence! Contact us today

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