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Around Our Town...Gentle Virtues


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07/01/2006 - From someplace, some time ago, I gleaned a good word of advice. The advice went something like this, "When you can't be grateful, at least be gracious." Athletes who show good sportsmanship after a defeat are good examples of being gracious.

When I was attending college, I was the the backup campus mailperson. One day while I was backing out of a parking lot to pick up bins of college mail at the post office, I heard a crunch – a loud metal crunch. Quickly I breaked and jumped out of the college's station wagon.

Three of my classmates in an old car greeted me with hysterical laughter. The driver, seeing I was a bit shaken up and dumbfouded called out, "Tami, don't worry about running into this old beater! This large dent matches the one on the other side!" The driver drove off before I even had a chance to apologize.

I was awestruck by my classmate's reaction. He demonstrated to me graciousness (and I might even say gratefulness?! Wild!). He extended to me grace – undeserved kindness. Though I have ling forgotten his name, I have not forgotten his forgiving response.

As a mom, I work at enforcing graciousness in our home. My children, like myself, need to be reminded of being gracious people.

Lately I've noticed something. When I make it a point to be grateful on a daily basis, I find it is easier to be gracious. Why is it? Could it be because I have a greater understanding of the grace that has been extended to me over and over again and I was to share that grace in my life? Yes, I think that is the reason.

In order for us to be gracious, we need to have a reserve to draw from. In those moments when we recognize someone overlooking an offense or shortcoming of our own, we can respond with a gratefulness. And that gratefulness will become a part of our reserve that we will need to tap when we need to be gracious.

Noah Webster defines one being gracious as being "kind, friendly, merciful, forgiving, virtuous and excellent". Let us be people of excellence. When we cannot be grateful, let us at least be gracious.

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