The power of gratitude

It is important for youth to express thanks and show appreciation.

The business of everyday life can lead us to forget about the importance of expressing our gratitude to those around us who have changed our life. Part of the 4-H Pledge states, “I pledge my heart to greater loyalty.” During the month of February to honor Valentine’s Day and “Heart Month,” Michigan State University Extension recommends 4-H clubs find time to express gratitude to their leaders and community organizations that support them.

The impact of positive emotions can be seen both physically and emotionally. Being thankful and recognizing good things will positively affect the 4-H club. A club can recognize volunteers and organizations that have supported their efforts.

Suggestions for showing gratitude to club leaders include:

  • Attach a note to a bag of mixed nuts stating, “We would go nuts without you!”
  • Wrap votive candles and attach a note stating, “You light up the lives of so many!”
  • Paint small terra cotta pots with bright colors. On the rim of the pot print “Thank you for helping us grow.” Inside place packets of flower seeds.
  • Use work gloves and stuff to the top with fiberfill, tie each closed with a ribbon. On the palm side of the glove, paint with craft paint a variety of shapes on each finger and thumb (a heart, four-leaf clover or star). In the palm, paint in big bright letters paint “Thank You.” Then tie a note to the ribbon on the wrist that says “Give yourself a hand.”

Some suggestions for showing gratitude to community service agencies are:

  • Prepare a plate of cookies during a club meeting. Take the cookies to a local government office with a note thanking them for supporting 4-H and youth.
  • Create “thank you posters” using bright poster board. These hand drawn signs may be given to donors, businesses and other partners (fair boards or schools) to hang in the lobby or entrances of their offices. Be sure to include hearts and clovers in the drawing.
  • Offer to help with cleaning or up-keep to express gratitude for support of club activities. This can be done with a letter from the club with contact information.

4-H clubs will be healthier and happier as they express gratitude. The Michigan 4-H website has more information for those interested in joining a 4-H club near them.

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