Editor's note: This article was originally published on Roger Allred's blog. It has been republished here with permission.
Aesop taught, "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." As parents, we want our children to be noble souls. In order to teach a virtue, we must first have a portion of that virtue. Sophocles taught the secret to developing gratitude, "Gratitude to gratitude always gives birth."
Raising noble souls requires that we be grateful for the life we have, which will lead to being even more grateful. A good first step is to decide to complain less. Another suggestion is to recognize that "playing the victim" is not healthy. Those who act like missile seeking targets have little time for gratitude.
Even though we have been richly blessed, some are still ungrateful. The seriousness of the sin of ingratitude is perfectly illustrated by W. Eugene Hansen. "It has been said that the sin of ingratitude is more serious than the sin of revenge. With revenge, we return evil for evil, but with ingratitude, we return evil for good."
Expressing gratitude is a great way to reinforce the gratitude we feel. John F. Kennedy explained that words of appreciation are not enough, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
The following is 10 things for which I am grateful.
1. Waking up each morning next to my wife, realizing that I have one more day with her
I have been on the brink of death with a heart that was dying. Receiving a heart transplant gave me more time with my wife and helped me to understand how much I cherish her.
2. Knowing that my children walk in truth
We are surrounded by the enemy of truth. Too many intelligent people substitute their arrogance-driven opinions for true wisdom. Having children that "choose the right" has been a wonderful blessing for us, as parents.
3. Having a loving family and friends
The support of my family and true friends has helped me with every problem I have experienced. Nothing is more important to me than to love and be loved in return.
4. Feeling the hope, peace and joy that come from a loving God
Without God, life has no meaning and loving earthly relationships are fleeting. He is the light of life.
5. Working on meaningful projects with good people
My life has been blessed by being involved in meaningful work, both as a professional and as a volunteer. Humans need to work and to be engaged in meaningful activities to feel fulfillment.
6. Living in a country that allows me life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
The United States of America is a nation established and blessed by God. It is my obligation to protect this nation from destructive politics and those who ignore the Constitution and the purpose of our country.
7. Seeing the beauties of nature
We have travelled the world and found beauty everywhere we have gone.
8. Lifting and being lifted by others
An anonymous family gave me the heart that now beats in my chest. I show my gratitude by serving others and working to ensure that people understand how they can donate life.
9. Learning new and interesting things
We are privileged to live in a world where knowledge is ubiquitous. It is a miracle that I have almost immediate answers to almost any question on my smartphone.
10. Enjoying each new day and the promise it brings
Every new day offers the possibility of a new experience, a new friend, a new understanding, a better me.
I am grateful for a life that gives me the opportunity to be a more noble soul and share that gratitude with my posterity.
Roger and his wife Sue have nine children and 21 grandchildren, so far. He has worked in many different jobs and in many different positions including a COO of a health care company, a teacher, the CFO of a feed mill, a CPA and the CEO of a power plant. In 2011, he received a heart transplant. In 2012, he and his wife hiked 60 miles in 6 days and summited Mt. Whitney to celebrate their 60th birthdays and the first anniversary of Roger's heart transplant. Roger currently works as a management consultant.