I can’t begin to tell you how many times throughout a typical day that I find myself thankful for some small act by another; whatever that act was or who benefited. Whatever good is done makes my heart happy.
Funny thing though – I never use the words grateful or gratitude.
Instead of using grateful or gratitude – I use words such as thankful, appreciative, beautiful. I’ll tell someone they are wonderful or great or thank them for being who they are that makes them so freely offer grace to others. I regularly tell my husband how thankful I am that he came into my life, how much I appreciate who he is. Sometimes I feel like I’m way over the top in offering thanks to others. It’s just my nature because when I see good done, I’m thankful, and in return want to thank the person giving.
I just can’t bring myself to use the words grateful or gratitude.
Being adopted and the expectations and beliefs by others placed on the adopted to be grateful they were adopted have ruined those words for me. Here’s why: When someone says you should be grateful you were adopted, grateful to your parents, stop and think what they are really saying. Would they tell a child born to their parents they should be grateful their parents brought them into this world? Is it okay that someone can tell your adopted child they should be grateful they were adopted by you, but not the same to the child you birthed standing right there?
Because those are the questions you need to ask; even if you don’t have a child you gave birth to.
Would you be okay that your adopted child is schooled by random people on making sure they show proper gratitude to their benefactors for taking them in? That is the message given when you tell an adoptee they should be grateful for being adopted. You are telling them that they owe their parents for being their parents. That they aren’t their real child. That they are less-than a bio child is. That they really don’t belong in their family but were taken in. That they are a charity case some good people took on.
We should all be grateful for the good in our lives. We should not be singled out as ones who should be grateful for the good in our lives because we were adopted. That is not true acceptance of a parent/child relationship, it just isn’t. As for the fear adoptive parents have that they can’t push back on people telling their adopted child they should be grateful, because they want their child to be grateful for the good in their lives?
You’re complicating things that aren’t complicated.
Children grow up being taught how to be good people; how to say please and thank you, taught why it’s important to give up their chair to a senior or anyone who needs to sit, all part of how to be a good person and citizen. Children grow up learning all those things and are reminded when forgotten so it becomes who they are. Children also grow up watching their parents, listening to them and over time they start to model their behavior. In other words, if you show gratitude both verbally and in tangible ways, your child will learn that. If you show the good of supporting causes and get them involved, chances are good they’ll model that as adults. I can’t begin to tell you how many ways I am like my parents in how I live my life, how many ways I also still fail, a work in progress for sure. Yet, I still refuse to allow another person to demean me and school me on being grateful I was adopted and how grateful I must be to mom and dad for adopting me. I’m not, never will be, what I will be is always thankful I had the honor of being their child and being raised by them.
Can you see the difference of being told I should be grateful mom and dad adopted me and just being treated as their child? If you can’t see the difference, leave a question detailing where you’re stuck and I or another commenter will try to explain.