JUST WHAT IS APPRECIATION? by Jack Schlatter, author for Chicken Soup Of The Soul.
This is from his book Gifts By The Side of the Road
In the mid 90’s I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a student
convention promoting understanding and tolerance. I told them I would love
to speak on understanding, but not on tolerance. When it comes to tolerance,
I’m against it. Have you ever been “tolerated”. Some of the definitions of
tolerance are ‘to put up with’, ‘to endure’, ‘the capacity to endure
hardship or pain’. To me, it is degrading to ‘tolerate’ someone. I would
rather be ‘appreciated’.
When I appreciate you, I have declared that I enjoy you, I value you, I am
grateful to you, or I might even need you.
I appreciate that Charles Dew, an American of African Heritage, gave us
Blood Plasma. I appreciate the combat records of the Tuskegee Airmen and
Nissei battalions. I appreciate Americans of African and Japanese heritage
who made major contributions to save the world from the tyranny of Nazism
I appreciate all the work Paul Rodriquez, a comedian and American of Mexican
heritage, has done to help the rehabilitation program in prisons.
Later in this book, I point out that we Americans are the first people born
of a spirit, not a blood. And the key to that spirit lies in a simple
quality called Appreciation.
An appreciative life is one that energizes itself every time it views a new
wonder. From the simplicity of a child’s laugh to the amazement of a great
new discovery in outer space. This is a life that constantly revitalizes
itself with Amazement.
I actually get a kick out of standing in lines. Lines in a grocery store,
or a ticket window or even at the DMV show how far humanity has come. I
have no doubt that everyone in every line has some place to go and something
to do. Yet they stand. All waiting their turn.
Centuries ago, the big laborer might have pushed everyone aside, the rich
old lady might have bought her way to the front, the famous person might
have thrown a tantrum.
Yet today, you see them all standing in line…waiting their turn. This point
of view leads me to find the miracle in every minute. I can spend an entire
day in a grocery store watching the greatest show on earth in total amazement.
The child trying to point out to the mother the health advantage to be found
in a Hershey Bar, the boyfriend who is learning how to take shopping orders
from his girlfriend, the ‘shopper’ looking for the best value everywhere,
the ‘sampler’ trying to get a free taste of everything before buying, the
accidental meeting between two people who are talking in wider circles
trying to set up a future meeting. All of these and more I find
tremendously entertaining and my entertainment is build upon that simple
I also appreciate dictionaries. They reveal some truths we haven’t yet
realized. So let’s look at the four definitions of appreciation given in
To be grateful for
To be totally aware of. Cognizant
To recognize quality, importance, or magnitude
(this is my favorite) TO INCREASE IN VALUE
It took me a few years to realize that the more I appreciated my students,
the more they increased in value to the class, to their families, and to
Like all new teachers, when I began my career, I desired to make a good
impression. As the years passed and my students became adults, I came to
realize that my real job was to be impressed by them.
The longer I taught, the more I taught with my eyes and my ears.
It is my wish and my prayer that this book will lead you to new awareness
and gratitude for life that will increase all you know, all you have, and
all you are in value. I know for sure that through more appreciation, we
can create more civility in our nation.