An Attitude of Gratitude

I was having a chat with my friend last night and he sent a message that his cleaner had sent to him.

“Pls bros my landlord ask me to move out of my apartment within 3 weeks because i pay six month rent when others paid 4 one year. Pls bros help me wit anytin pls. Oga T pls na beg i d sopt me wt eny tin pls am be ebaraz by my lalord pls i no dis my b distob to u bt pls hp me in d name of god pls 4 roland”

After we finished cracking ourselves up at the abysmal spelling I asked T when he was going to help Roland to avoid the embarrassment from the landlord. His response was that his problem with giving people money around where he was is that they were never grateful for whatever you gave them. He said that if he gave Roland N10,000 there was no assurance that Roland wouldn’t roll his eyes back at him. Then he told me of how a cleaner in his office had told him that he needed money to get married and when he gave the guy N20,000 that the guy stared at the cash with disdain. So I said, “you really shouldn’t worry about whether he appreciates it or not. Do your bit if you can and know that you’ve done it”.

That chat really got me thinking about our attitude to receiving of things. I’m not just talking about people who work for us, I mean you and I. When was the last time you said ‘Thank you’ for even the littlest thing you were given? When I was growing up, my parents saturated us with tales of how they went to school because of the generosity of the missionaries and that even a pair of sandals was a luxury. Even though we never did the ‘Thank you Mummy/Thank you Daddy’ thing after every meal, we were taught never to take anything for granted.

It’s sad that people generally assume that once their relative/friend works in the finance industry or the oil and gas industry that there’s a tree of money at the back of the person’s house or the person has an unlimited access to money and as such all drinks are on them, all parties should be ‘carried by’ them. It’s very sad that based on that assumption they don’t think it’s appropriate to say ‘thank you’ or even show a little appreciation.

The truth is, you have no idea what that person is going through or what his/her planned expenditure is for the month/year. You can’t share a cab with your friend and ASSUME that because he/she works in KPMG the fare is covered.  You also shouldn’t forget to say ‘thank you’ when the person pays for that ride. In the larger scheme of things, we all need one another and it is said that when you’re grateful for what you get today, there are chances that you may get another subsequently (and this isn’t in anyway encouraging perpetual dependency)

Is there anyway of justifying not being grateful for anything? Is there something like a sense of entitlement which precludes people from having an attitude of gratitude. As the receiver, do you feel that you go over and above the call of duty for the giver and you feel like the least the person can do is meet a certain standard you have set and so when the person gives you something, you feel like it’s far less than what you’re worth?

Let’s fix up and learn to appreciate the littlest things. If your friend/colleague gives you a ride to work, remember that it’s a favor and not a given and remember to say thank you. If  your parent pays for your school fees, it’s not a right, it’s a privilege, remember that they can use the money to go off on a trip to Maui! I heard one of my small cousins complaining that her older brother bought an iPhone 4 for his girlfriend and all she wanted was ‘an ordinary Blackberry Bold 4’ and he bought her a Curve. I was so furious when she told me. I asked her if she worked with Tola for his money and if it wasn’t his prerogative to spend his money as he saw fit. I asked if she remembered to say ‘Thank you’ for the Curve or did she think that people went around buying new phones for their siblings every other day.

There are no guarantees in life (save for death and taxes.) It’s the little things that count and it goes a long way in helping us to build a nation of people who never take things for granted.


33 Comments on An Attitude of Gratitude
  • Traditionalbay October 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks you Atoke!…all i can say.

  • nems October 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    LOVELY reminder to be grateful for the liitle things and take nothing for granted.

  • Re October 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Well put! Thank you for writing this 🙂

  • Love October 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you! A word for the wise

  • The subject October 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    A gud reminder…

  • BABA T aka The ORIGINATOR!!! October 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm


  • Eve October 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I strongly feel we shld always abide the habit of gratitude especially when its comes as a privellage and not your right. While growing up,we where cautioned ‘always say thank u when ever u receive things fm strangers or relative’ . In the nutshell, appreciate the little things.

  • busarni October 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Well said , tell dem. PPl jus tink bcos yu have a good job yu shld go abt spending every kobo yu earn as if naira is going out of fashion. Just ystdy, i was shocked wen i heard that one of my friend that its jus managing life has bought a new car; the funny thing is dat dis dude always have an excuse to ask for 5k or 10k and never bothers to pay back. Reason; yu have a steady job. I just de wait am for corner sha.All de same i think we all should inculcate the habit of being grateful for the little tins we get.

  • Damidee October 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Well said, Atoks Mama

  • jenny October 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Hmmmn, i am having a fight with someone, just on this issue. What about some people who think that, when you do soemthing for them, you wanted to do it, not because they forced, you, so don’t expect them to be worshipping you, cos you did them a favour. Thats the crap i’ve been hearing recently, and it jsut pisses me off. The least you can give back is appreciation, gratitude, and a little respect and at least, a good turn deserves another. When it is their turn to lend you a helping hand, they do it on their own terms, forgetting that you stretched yourself to help them in their time of need. Some people are of the opinion that gratitude only belongs to the Lord, so, do good, because you will reap the reward from heaven, and not because you are expecting the receiver to say thank you. There’s a part of me that agreees with that, and another part of me that rubs me off the wrong way, cos there’s only so much ingratitude you can take from someone, before you stop giving. Like the writer said, you can save use the money for a trip to Maui

  • Mz Socially Awkward… October 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    How in the eff did you guys on the BN team know what I was literally reflecting on just 10mins ago – “Attitude of Gratitude”?? No, really, I’m finding this freakishly coincidental. Why did you know to write exactly on this subject today? It must be God speaking, I’m telling you.

    And it’s Friday so imma just go ahead & rant away… so work has been kinda hectic, right? Scary hectic and lately I’ve been feeling really peevish about the perks which I think are commensurate with my job which a sista just isn’t getting! Why do I have to be the one who puts all the hardwork into negotiating the contract & someone else swans off to Milan for the client meeting (a trip to Milan in the middle of Autumn, what’s not to like?)?? Why do I have to be the one working stupid hours and not getting a better bonus than the lazy bugger who’s never at his desk (and even when he is, it’s to read out loud from the DailyMail website)?

    I’m telling you, I’ve been scowling at everyone all week, thinking vengeful thoughts about pushing my CV to one of said clients and asking if they have openings. However, I had to repent today because I thought about how good God’s been to me in giving me great career breaks, bringing me this far by creating a way even where others said there was no way in this foreign land and I felt so ashamed, started thinking I need to show an attitude of gratitude. For all His favor, for being so good to me, for keeping and taking me thus far! I soooo repent of my foolishness and pray the Father forgives me. Whew, Rant over! It felt good to share. 🙂

    • Naveah October 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Listen mama, just because you are taking note of the fact that you are being taken advantage of is NOT ingratitude. It is because you appreciate what you have, you are good at it and you want to grow within it that gives you the sight to see that you are doing the work and not being compensated for it. Yes, we do have to be careful with the attitude we have when we don’t get what we want because that in and of itself can keep you from your blessings. It is a very fine line. Begin to keep an account of the work you have done so that if and when you decide to ask for what is due to you, you do so with proof in hand. All the best!

      • nomad October 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        Thank you. I also have a good job in the context of where I am right now but I feel under-appreciated and definitely earning under my potential. Keeping your eyes out for better opportunities is not being ungrateful, it’s being ambitious and savvy enough to know that if your wings are being clipped elsewhere, you can still fly higher somewhere else. I’m grateful for my life and considerable experience BUT I want better, need to aim better, deserve better.

  • portable-oge October 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you Atoke! A timely n needed reminder for us to be grateful at all times no matter hw small it looks in our eyes!

  • fola October 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    True talk. I remember a few Christmases ago I was in the market and a lady approached the car asking for money. I opened up my purse to give her most of what was left it was about a few hundred naira and she actually eyed me and began to cuss at me. I’m thinking excuuussseee me ! This is money I worked really hard for and its not like you cannot do a decent days work. Promptly put back my money and left asap !

  • m October 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I was brought up with please, thank you and i am sorry as part of my vocabulary so saying thank you is not new to me but i disagree my parents paying school fees is a right not a privilege unless primary school children are now expected to pay their own school fees as well just a thought in our house it was expected that our parents pay our school fees to masters level no questions asked

    • Jiddah October 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Thank You.

      I have a right to be educated by my parents o! in as much as I am grateful the money was not used on a trip to Maui. What is the point? that they just give birth to me and what? You made a fantastic point Atoke just that I feel that a child’s welfare is a parents’ responsibility, school fees inclusive.

  • cathy October 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    we are so materialistic with everything nowadays, we don’t even remember to say thank you to those who provide for us one way or the other. thanks dear

  • Naveah October 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The problem I have always had in Nigeria with lending people money is that when they come to you to ask for the money, they come with ALL humility, oh man they ply on the pity, eyes bubbling with tears right on the edge of their eyes ready to drop, drooping mouth and all. Oh the pleading with sincerity dripping culled up from the bottom of their feet BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTtttt once the time they are supposed to pay you come and go, and you ask for your money come and see the mouth that they will give you???!!!! “SO IT IS FOR COMMON n50K THAT YOU ARE DISTURBING MY LIFE? I WILL PAY YOU YOUR MONEY JO AH AH. ARE YOU THE FIRST PERSON TO BORROW PERSIN MONEY EH? EH?” CHILLLLLLLEEEEE, NO! This has happened! I have a friend who lives in the States and married to a woman from Nigeria who had no hope of ever living that country until he met her and married her even though she was divorced with two children. When they get to the States, she begins to show herself well well and one day she threw in his face “are you the first person to give a person green card?” Man, I tell ya he almost exploded.

    I know a young lady who now lives here who used to just think it was okay to ask for $100 like she was asking for $10 but now she lives here, going to school full time, working part time and trying to pay rent, transportation, buy food etc. NOW, she sees that “common” $100 is NOT just common.

  • Reallaw October 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Atoke, Standing Ovation!!! 🙂 Naija youth need this msg drilled in, like seriously …

  • flo October 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Saying thank you has never been an issue for me.. In our house you could not finish eating and not thank my parents. I personally do alot of reflections on life and everytime I find a million and one reasons to be thankful. I may complain sometimes.. but i can say i’m 80-90% of the time thankful.

    There is this joy that comes with being thankful. The people you are crateful to, feel subconsciously obliged to help you again if you are in need.

    My hubby does the dishes, I say thank you, he lays the bed, i say thank you, he cleans the house, i say thank you.When he cooks for me, i say thank you…. Why becasue I appreciate the fact that he sees the need to help me out.

    We all have something and people to be thankful for. thanks BN for reminding us all.

  • abla October 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Very true! Nice one Atoks…

  • jennietobbie October 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you!!! The wonders of those words know no bounds. The truth is that if you are genuinely grateful for what others did for you; they will constantly be there to help you out. No, you don’t have to depend on them, but you are guaranteed that there’s always someone to help you pull through.

    Love my parents, siblings and best friends…when I wake up, I’m grateful for having these beautiful people in my life. <3 They are my priceless wealth.

  • Salewa October 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Nice one Atoke, well said.

  • Amazeballs October 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Thanks a lot Atoke for this!!! it hurts to not be appreciated. But first of all lets know how to tell the difference between doing one a favour and works of charity. For Charity, we should give without expecting anything in return (and i mean anything). As a Vincentian, one is encouraged to “let all things be done with charity” but hey who does not like a little thank you here right? But if you are doing good, do it for the sake of doing good, or don’t just do it, otherwise you’ll end up bitter.

    But if you are doing one a favour, oh please be sure to let them know you are waiting for that thank you. lol. like my dad will say, if someone asks you for a loan, only give what you are willing to bear, afterall it will lead to heartache or death in the case of ALUU4 when you want to collect your money.
    And never mind those that help you with material gifts but are nasty when doing it, i’m still thankful but won’t let it happen again.

    In the end, lets show show gratitude and be thankful for all we have and receive.

    • zoomzoomzoom October 20, 2012 at 6:51 am

      ‘Work of charity’ or ‘favor’ or whatever name we decide to call it, I think the problem arises when people just take things for granted and start having a sense of entitlement.People(relations&friends) always feel the rich man owes them something.And even if the rich man/woman has been given out forever, if he/she is not able to give once,the so-called relations/friends will not remember his earlier good deeds.They curse him and say all bad stuffs about him.
      May God help us!

  • tina October 20, 2012 at 1:01 am

    but what if someone gives a lot and asked for something in return not because you gave the person what he or she wanted but because you feel the person can do it for u then the person refuses to do that one favor for u, don’t you think that’s been selfish.

  • eni October 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    i so love this…can i buy the copyright to this piece? am serious

  • nmbw October 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Basic elementary courtesy rules: Never forget your Please, Sorry and Thank yous. Some things are just basic, or rather, should be!

  • Funke BUCKNOR obruthe October 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Thank you

  • faith October 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    i never forget to say thank u…

  • Tosin October 21, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Forty virgins for you, Atoke. That’s all I can say.

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