Communal gratitude cannot—and should not—be compulsory. Forcing gratitude, especially when required by those in positions of power, is another way of placating authoritarian egos or asserting control in hierarchical systems. Required gratefulness only fosters resentment. Communities could, however, design their own gratitude covenants whereby participants freely consent to mutual expressions and practices of appreciation in family life, learning, work, and governing. “Covenant,” derived from Latin for “come together, unite, and agree,” has often been used in restrictive and exclusionary ways. What if organizations, institutions, and communities came together in circles of thanks? Not just as a one-day holiday of celebration, but in the form of stated public commitments to the sharing of gifts for the common good?
From “Grateful” by Diana Butler Bass – HarperOne