Is Graciousness a Dying Trait?

I have always, always loved graciousness. I think it’s one of the most beautiful traits a person can have. By the same token, one of the ugliest traits one can call their very own is ungraciousness – the attitude that NO ONE ever does enough for them and that what they do manage to do is…well, owed to them, somehow.

When I’ve written a positive book review and the author takes the time to e-mail me or leave a comment on the blog, I mark them down as an author I will forever seek out. Graciousness is often a symptom of having a great deal of class.

A few months ago, I wrote a review for a kitchen gadget on my Recipe Blog. They sent me a Starbucks gift card in a thank you card. They earned my love and lifetime devotion with that gesture. Quite frankly, I am just as touched by a “Thanks!” as anything, though. Yes, even Starbucks bucks.

I started thinking more about graciousness this weekend while reading a “Reader’s Choice Awards 2008″ section in a paper from a nearby city. It struck me as quite an honor to have the citizens of your community award you the distinciton as being the “best.” Can you imagine? How cool! If I were a business owner, and were given that highest of honors, I would be bursting with so much love and gratitude, I’d come up with a special offer or gift – you know, something to give a hug back.

I started looking at the ads throughout the magazine-style section. There were 121 of them. Each, of course, said something like THANK YOU! and THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST FOR 5 YEARS IN A ROW!, etc. However, I was shocked to see that only 10 even offered some sort of a coupon or discount as a gesture of their gratitude. 10 out of 121. Wow. Most seemed to just give off the vibe of, “Of course you voted us the best – we ARE the best!”

The one – literally one – that stood out in the crowd was a Children’s Boutique that offered a free gift when their ad was brought into their store. It wasn’t even a “with purchase” type of thing. The owner (a lady with an understanding of graciousness) just wanted to hug back.

I hope she doesn’t feel lonely up there at the top.

Below are some of my favorite quotes about graciousness:

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” – J.B. Massieu

“Swift gratitude is the sweetest.” – Greek Proverb

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.” – G.B. Stern

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

“Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is indeed a virtue.” – William J. Bennett

“Realize that when you get older, you either get senile or become gracious. There’s no in-between. You become senile when you think the world short-changed you, or everybody wakes up to screw you. You become gracious when you realize that you have something the world needs, and people are happy to see you when you come into the room.” – Carlos Santana

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