I did a couple of Bollywood Dance workshops for kids at a library during the summer holidays. The library staff had been reaching out to me for a couple of years, but the timing worked out this year, so I said yes, mostly out of guilt and also at the happiness she expressed when I responded to her email.
My parents are in town, so we made a day trip of it. I was not expecting much, and this was my first time teaching kids who are in the range of 3 yrs – 8 yrs old. Both sessions went well – the kids all joined in, even kids who were too young tapped their feet. They all followed the instructions and happily danced away. Even the library staff, teachers and kids – grandparents joined in.
After the session, a couple of kids came up and gave me a penny and a rubber band – bracelet (which is a very precious commodity at their age) as a gift. A couple of kids gave me hugs, and a few of them came over and said how much they loved it.
As we were driving back, we were discussing the gifts, and it made me wonder. These kids knew me for less than forty minutes, and they were showering with me affection right after that. They are so free with their love and displays of affection. What happens to us when we grow up? People have to earn our love and friendship – it is no longer freely given. We no longer get recognized for doing our job – we need to go above and beyond our duty to distinguish ourselves and gain recognition. What has changed in the value of love from the time we were kids to the time we start working that it has become such a scarce resource. And we are not talking about diamonds or even chocolates which cost money – we are just talking about appreciation, simple gestures of gratitude which are free but priceless at the same time.
So, at work I am of the mindset that if somebody has done something to evoke the feeling of gratitude in me, then they hear about it – it does not matter whether we have achieved the result or not. One of my peers got us external help that enabled us to move forward, and I told him how grateful I was – and he said, ‘Don’t thank me, yet’. I told him – I will, it’s my choice, and I did. Why do we have to wait to express our love or gratitude unless they have proven something – are we not capable of feeling gratitude and love just for the heck of it. Somewhere in our civilization process, we have lost this beautiful practice of expressing love and appreciation. The irony is we chase after happiness even though we have it. We do not accept it because we are waiting for something grand to happen before we take what we are already feeling.
How will you give gratitude and love freely?