By Henrylito D. Tacio
When was the last time you have appreciated someone? When was the last time you said these words: “Hey, you look great with your new hair cut.” “I like the way you dress.” “Thanks for the food you have prepared for us.” “The color combination was just perfect.”
“The deepest principle in human nature,” said William James, “is the craving to be appreciated.” Read this short story written by Rudyard Kipling:
There was once a gigantic cargo ship and a very small bolt which, like thousands of others, helped hold together the steel plates on the hull of the ship. As the ship was sailing through the rough Indian Ocean, that little bolt was vibrating loose and was in danger of falling off altogether. Seeing what was happening, the other little bolts around it screamed, “Watch out! Hang on! If you fall out, we’ll all be the next.”
When the large steel ribs inside the ship heard of the little bolt’s problem, they shouted out loud, “For heaven’s sake! Don’t let go, you bolts. If you do, we’re all lost.”
The new of the little bolt’s danger of falling off flew to every corner of the big ship. So the steel plates and all the other little bolts, along with the steel ribs and tiniest nails, sent a delegation to the little bolt to encourage him to hang on for dear life. They told him that he was important to them all. If he let go, the whole ship might come apart, and no one on it would ever get home alive.
All this pleading flattered the little bolt’s pride over his importance to so many people. So, he assured the rest of the crew that he intended to hold on with all his might.
Have you ever appreciated your teacher? “A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils,” said Ever Garrison. Carl Jung himself said, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”
A couple of years back, I remembered my Grade III teacher. I can’t recall now all the wonderful things she did to me, but I could not forget her. But how will she knew that I appreciated all those things if I won’t tell her? So, I decided to write a letter telling how grateful I was. The note was short but direct. I gave it to my niece and told her to deliver the message to my former teacher.
I never knew what happened after that — until I was invited to be the guest speaker of the school. Even before I could the program started, she called me and with misty eyes told me how thankful she was for the letter. It was the first and only letter she received from her former pupils and she showed it to other teachers.
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing,” said Voltaire. “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” We need the importance of what we have only if we lost them already.
By a misplaced blow with a hammer, a man smashed one of his thumbs. “That’s too bad,” said a friend, when he heard about the accident.
But the man was a kind of philosopher. “No, it isn’t,” he pointed out. “It is one of the best things that ever happened to me. It taught me to appreciate that thumb. I never knew its value to me before. On the first day, by actual count, I found out after I injured my thumb, that there were 257 things I had been doing with my thumb every day in my life, without giving it a thought. And I never realized that my thumb is practically indispensable to me.”
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” William Arthur Ward reminded. Here’s a story, which appeared in Catholic Digest:
“It was a cold night and we had just found a little Italian café. The cold wind behind us, the pungent scent of spaghetti sauce and spices inside, we started toward a table. As we passed the booths, my eye was caught and held for a moment by a pink hat on a dark-haired lady’s head. It was a ‘magazine cover’ of a hat, with pink tulle and flowers and a saucy tilt. Coming upon it so suddenly in this prosaic surrounding stopped me.
“Just when the outer door opened and a group of sailors came in. As they made their way toward a table, just as we did, and passed the lady with the soft dark hair, one of them without pausing or breaking in his stride with his fellow said gently, ‘Lady, I like your hat.’
“And she nodded briefly and answered, ‘Thank you.’ And that seemed that. But I knew it couldn’t be just that. And I began to wish I had at least smiled at her to thank her for the thrill she had given me.
“The other evening for no apparent reason at all, my husband said, ‘I always like the way you walk.’ Goodness! I walk like anyone else, but my husband liked the way I walked! Every step I took after that had a special meaning.”
Appreciating out loud makes a person’s day. “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves,” James Matthew Barrie said.
Allow me to end this piece with Henry Burton’s Pass It On: “Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on. T’was not given for thee alone; pass it on. Let it travel down the years, let it wipe another’s tears, ’til in Heaven the deed appears. Pass it on.”
For comments, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org