Be Grateful


Being grateful—and showing it—pays big dividends as teens apply a prophet’s counsel.

How have you responded to President Gordon B. Hinckley’s six B’s? This is the first in a series of articles where Latter-day Saint youth tell of the blessings they’ve received by putting the prophet’s counsel to work.

In November 2000, President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a special fireside to the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Single youth and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 were invited to attend. Some gathered in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City where President Hinckley spoke. Others met in stake centers throughout the world. It was an unprecedented event when the youth of the Church had the prophet’s attention all to themselves.

Caroline Wright was able to attend the meeting in the Conference Center. “It was so amazing to see all these young people in the right place at the right time doing what was right. You could just feel the Spirit so strong, the strongest I have ever felt it in my life. When President Hinckley walked into the room, you could feel the respect we all have for him, and the love that I felt he had for us and that we had for him.”

Similar feelings were experienced wherever young men and women had gathered to listen to the words of their prophet.

“Your lives are filled with difficult decisions and with dreams and hopes and longings to find that which will bring you peace and happiness,” President Hinckley said. He told the youth how they could attain these dreams of peace and happiness.

First it is necessary to overcome the challenges of life. Speaking of our modern-day challenges he said, “Never in the history of mankind has life been filled with so many opportunities and challenges. But of all the challenges that have been faced in the past, the ones we have today, I believe, are the most easily handled. I say that because they are manageable. They largely involve individual behavioral decisions, but those decisions can be made and followed.”

To help us make these decisions President Hinckley presented his list of six B’s—Be grateful, Be smart, Be clean, Be true, Be humble, Be prayerful.

“Since that talk I have tried hard with a prayer in my heart to reform my life,” Katie Wood wrote. “Being grateful for each day that I live—each breath. Realizing that I am not the perfect person or as nice to others as I could be.”

Katie had the right idea.

“Let a spirit of thanksgiving guide and bless your days and nights,” said President Hinckley. Be grateful was the first of his six B’s. He encouraged the youth to incorporate gratitude into their daily lives. “Work at it,” he said. “You will find it will yield wonderful results.”

Walk with gratitude in your hearts

Sometimes it is easy to miss the wonderful blessings that surround us. But as we live with a spirit of thanksgiving we will be able to see how the Lord has blessed us.

“Walk with gratitude in your hearts,” President Hinckley said. “Be thankful for the wonderful blessings which are yours.”

Brittany Winberg, from Idaho Falls, Idaho, followed President Hinckley’s counsel soon after the fireside. She found that living with a spirit of gratitude does in fact yield wonderful results.

“My mother had prepared a special Sunday dinner after the fireside, and I went into the kitchen to help her with the dishes afterward. While in the kitchen I felt a stinging prompting, remembered the prophet’s words about gratitude, and humbly said, ‘Mom, thank you so much for everything; you are the greatest.’ She looked at me and tears welled up in her eyes and she grabbed me in a tight embrace. She then told me how horrible her day was and that I had done exactly what she had been praying for.”

Express appreciation

Just as Brittany had found, saying “thank you” is a wonderful way to express gratitude to those around us. “There are two little words in the English language that mean more than all others,” President Hinckley said. “They are ‘thank you.’”

In this fireside he encouraged the youth to say thank you often.

“Express appreciation to everyone who does a favor or assists you in any way,” President Hinckley said.

Seventeen-year-old Brandon Frampton shared an experience about simply saying thank you.

“At my high school, I usually eat in the cafeteria. Every day I get in line, buy my lunch, eat, and leave. One day I felt impressed to say thank you to the lady who was serving me my lunch. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but later I learned that because of my remark she had a much better day. I still always say thank you, and I have noticed others doing the same now. Everyone can make a difference.”

Let them know you’re grateful

President Hinckley reminded us that saying thank you to parents is also very important. Our parents deserve to hear that we are grateful for them and for their efforts in our behalf. Expressing gratitude will not only help our parents feel appreciated and loved, but also it will increase our love for them. One young woman applied President Hinckley’s advice to her relationship with her mother.

“In my life it is hard for me to understand my mom. Sometimes I don’t feel like she truly loves me. I know she does, but sometimes I do not feel it.

“Well, as I was listening to President Hinckley speak he said, ‘Be grateful.’ It was like he stepped out of the TV, grabbed me by the shoulders, and said, ‘’Show your mom you are thankful for her!’ I thought to myself, No we are doing fine. The feeling stayed there, so I got on my knees and cried. I asked for so much strength. I decided I needed to be more humble. I got up my courage and saved my money. Then I bought some flowers and on the card I wrote: ‘You’re the greatest mom in the world. I love you.’

“My mom really is the best. She does everything for me and only wants the best for me, and now I feel like we are real friends. We can talk about most things. It is going to be a long road, but I know that I will make it and all because I was thankful.”

Sixteen-year-old Jacob Maughan found that it just takes a moment of reflection to realize how much our parents do for us.

“After hearing President Hinckley’s talk I realized that my parents have given me all that I now have. I need to thank them daily and love them for what they have done for me. I need to tell them now that I love them. Being grateful means not only being thankful but also being respectful and responsible for the things that I have. It means cleaning up my mess and respecting not only my parents, but all my brothers and sisters. I need to be more grateful for God the Eternal Father and for Jesus and all He has done.”

His outreaching hand

As Jacob mentioned, it is also important to be grateful for our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Thank the Almighty for His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who has done for you what none other in all this world could do,” President Hinckley said. “Thank Him for His great example, for His tremendous teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help. Think about the meaning of His Atonement.”

When Trace Harding from Spanish Fork, Utah, heard President Hinckley, he decided he wanted to show his gratitude to his Father in Heaven by serving a mission.

“I have been deciding whether or not to go on a mission. When President Hinckley talked about being grateful it changed my outlook on a mission. I feel that I owe two years to the Lord. He has been so kind to offer me many blessings.”

We all have many things to be thankful for. We are a blessed people because we have the knowledge of the true gospel. As we strive to follow President Hinckley’s suggestion to Be grateful, our relationships with others, as well as our relationships with our Heavenly Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ, will greatly improve.

[illustration] Painting Journey’s End by Derek Hegsted