Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Message from Tim Blaylock, Chief Professional Officer

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on December 16, 2013

Message from Tim Blaylock, Chief Professional Officer

Thankfulness is not an emotion that comes around once a year, during the holidays in November and December. Thankfulness is a state of mind that should be present at all times . . . even trying times.

I’m a grateful person. It takes very little for me to feel grateful, and when I feel grateful, it’s intense.

That’s my attitude. It’s chosen, and I work on it daily. Not only do I benefit from being grateful, but my community benefits, too. Indeed, being grateful helps us form and sustain the most important relationships in our lives. And though there are obstacles to being grateful — grouch-like thinking, distaste for acknowledging our dependency on others, the business of life — it’s well worth the effort, with scientifically proven results.

For example, grateful people, compared with their less grateful counterparts, tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives, less envious and materialistic, in higher quality relationships, in better physical and mental health, more pro-social and generous, and more resilient.

Gratitude, therefore, is beneficial to our health, and is an important trait to have in good times and bad. The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 gave psychologists a rare opportunity to study factors that may protect people from the physical and emotional consequences caused by disaster. Barbara Fredrickson, a leading scholar in the study of human strengths and virtues, and her colleagues followed a group of people before and after 9/11 — assessing their frequency of positive and negative emotions. They found that of the 20 emotions assessed, gratitude was the second most experienced, after compassion. The people with at least moderate amounts of these positive emotions were less likely to experience depression after the terrorist attacks.

Further, a study of newspaper accounts about what children were thankful for before and after 9/11 found that themes of gratitude for basic human needs — family, friends and teachers — increased after 9/11. Thus, whether you’re an adult or a kid, gratitude may foster coping, adjustment and resiliency in bad times.

I’m not suggesting that people who’ve been hurt by a tragic incident should feel grateful — that would be insulting and invalidating. Instead, I’m suggesting they try to be grateful in spite of it.

Even if you’re just going through the motions, expressing gratitude is a good way to influence your thinking and subsequent behaviors. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “We are what we think about all day long.”

As the holidays approach I’m thankful for my staff who is forever striving to care, mentor and guide our youth to success every day.  I’m grateful for you – parents, youth, donors, volunteers, partners and all who support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme. You enable us to do this work that we love. And I’m eternally grateful for my Board of Directors, my family and friends. Thank you everyone!

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