An Attitude of Gratitude

Father & Son1
Father & Son1Photo by Alizza B. Mistades

My husband and I once listened to a talk by Dr. Thierfelder, a sports psychologist who worked closely with numerous professional athletes. One fine day, while working with a talented NFL wide receiver who happened to be a Christian, Dr. Thierfelder encouraged him to say, ‘thank you, Jesus,’ instead of expletives whenever he committed errors. This had a dual purpose: to develop an attitude of gratitude and to focus on the cause of the problem instead of the emotional impact of errors. Though initially skeptical, this player followed the advice. Long story short, he improved his game. He became not only a better athlete, but also a better person.

The talk was very encouraging. My husband and I immediately thought to ourselves, ‘what better venue to implement this “attitude of gratitude” than in one’s home?’ After all, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, we are encouraged to,

“Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

As soon as the children got up from bed, we introduced the simple concept of thanking Jesus for the good and bad things that happen in our life. The children were excited about the idea and repeatedly practiced a “thank you, Jesus.” Thirty minutes later, our son ran to the bedroom, looking very flustered: “My sister is annoying me! I accidentally tripped and she said, ‘thank you, Jesus!’”

We commiserated with this little fellow. And started to explain. The story of the football player brought a smile to his face. Little did we know this simple prayer would work miracles throughout the day.

Ran errands with four children under extremely hot Texas weather. Thank you, Jesus.

Stuck in traffic with a fussy baby. Thank you, Jesus.

Delayed dinner and bedtime routines due to heavy traffic. Thank you, Jesus.

The day was finally over. Thank you, Jesus!!!

The interesting thing about this day was that our children constantly reminded us to lift our heart to Christ when things got rough. The day was constantly filled with a tiny “thank you, Jesus” coming from the back of the car, under the dining table, or in the bathroom. A simple prayer uttered by a bright-eyed, smiling child. Who couldn’t help but smile back and say the same prayer?

Reflecting on that day and the days that followed, we have come to value the importance of thanking Jesus for the daily joys and pinpricks. What a wonderful opportunity to sanctify the little things!  What an opportunity to turn the day’s events into a continuous prayer of thanks.

In her reflections on gratitude, Blessed Mother Teresa encourages us to see life’s crosses as opportunities to be closer to Christ:

“Let us try to be joyful and grateful in our daily lives by seeing only the Hand of God

in all that happens to us and use everything as a means to come close to Him -

especially the Crosses He sends to us.”

An attitude of gratitude develops by living it one day at a time. If anything, my husband and I are truly grateful for the tremendous help we receive from our little ones and their Guardian Angels. THANK YOU, JESUS!


Written by Tricia O. Santos for


The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own.


About the author
Tricia Santos is based in Dallas, Tx with her husband and their 4 children. She is a university adjunct assistant professor and a consultant speech-language pathologist for hospitals. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of the Philippines and graduate degrees from Columbia University and the University of Texas at Dallas. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, telling children’s stories, and listening to inspirational talks from EWTN and Lighthouse Catholic Media.
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