http://theunconverted.com/learning-how-to-be-thankful-without-givin...

This really hit home for me because it took a really long time for me to learn how to just be thankful as opposed to feeling compelled to give "praise and thanks" to [insert god here].

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Life is a wonderful adventure even though difficult and painful at times.

I rejoice and am appreciative and thank those who help me.

Sounds like a good approach to me. I'm more or less in the same boat.

My wife is catholic. We agreed at marriage to raise our kids catholic. I, on the other hand, am agnostic atheist. We originally agreed to say "thank yous" at most meals, which I have no problem with because I am not trying to force my version of reality on anyone. I also do it because I agreed to originally and intend to keep my word.

The performance originally included the following group "chant" (shiver):

"Thank you for our friends, thank you for our family, thank you for mommy and daddy and sissy and squirt and bear and squiggles and zoomer" (we have three pets. You can figure out which are which).

Each person is then to say thanks for something that happened recently that they appreciate.

The ceremony has grown to include typical catholic prayers following the last personal thanks. I am in a somewhat difficult position in that I sit quietly, not bowing or putting my hands together. I do not say anything and wait until everyone is done speaking. I say difficult because it's already been brought up by my kids that I'm not doing what everyone else is. I've deflected this by saying I have my own way of showing appreciation. I imagine this will get harder as they become older.

I'm ok with the current setup as I think the appreciation aspect is the most important. At some point, we all need to ask where this appreciation is being directed. I can say that I direct it to the those people around me. If there is more to the story than I know, I will admit as much when it is revealed to me. I will direct appreciation to the responsible party at that time as well. I work with what I know and that's not much.

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Greg! That's a pretty cool approach and I'm glad that your family is co-existing well.

i think that's called reality?!

Napoleon said it well. I feel a lot of gratitude to nature and luck and all the things and people you mention in the article. In my view it is important to be thankful because it encourages helping others so they can also have enough worldly stuff (food, shelter, education, healthcare etc..) to survive and thrive.  One person's deeds can turn into other people's good (or bad) luck. Gratitude is my pathway to empathy and sharing. 

Thanks really well said, Annet!

Empathy is key, and thankfulness is definitely a pathway to that key emotion.

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