Gratitude for the Little Things

Chicago el train

It’s so easy to be annoyed by the little things. How hard can it be, then, to allow ourselves to be thankful for the little things? The other day, I was on the verge of being completely annoyed by the traffic that made me miss my usual train. Instead, realizing that I was now “early” for the next train, I strolled at a leisurely pace from my parking spot to the train station. I took the time to appreciate the blue skies, the budding trees, the chirping birds, and the cool but warming breeze. Paying attention to and being thankful for these “little” things effectively boxed out the annoyance of missing my usual train that wanted so desperately to win me over and to influence my day.

Gratitude is not fluff. It is serious medicine—an effective antidote to the poisons of annoyance, exasperation, and cynicism that vie for our attention. The positive little things that we can be thankful for each day are no less real than the negative little things that annoy us. They simply don’t clamor as loudly as the negative things do. We need to develop a capability for recognizing the subtle little things for which we are grateful and allow them to use their inherent power to overwhelm the negative. Take a moment to look around (and within) you: what little things are you grateful for at this very moment?

Happy Thanksgiving!

About Joe Paprocki 2751 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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