“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” – Colossians 3:16

The group at a small New Year’s eve dinner party which I attended lamented the disappearance of basic manners among many young people. A simple a thing as saying thank you for a gift at a Christmas party is no longer in vogue. Furthermore, it appears as though the recipient takes the gesture of giving a gift for granted and fails to appreciate the generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness which emanates within the giver.

Where did we go wrong? Probably a combination of children who are having children, parents who have missed out on insisting on discipline at home, peer pressure and a failure of parts of the school system and curricula to play a supporting role.

An article by Kevin Eikenberry, entitled The Power of Gratitude, states “science tells us that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is a good health choice. Being more grateful more often makes us happier and more optimistic…the universal law of attraction says that we will attract into our life the things we think about and focus on.”

He continues that gratitude also adds to the bottom line – in very real ways and the best news about gratitude is that it requires little time and no money. He concludes by giving five reasons why gratitude improves your productivity and results: Gratitude attracts what we want; Gratitude improves relationships; Gratitude reduces negativity; Gratitude improves problem solving skills; and Gratitude helps us learn.

Let me therefore start 2016 by expressing gratitude to the readers of this column and for taking the time to respond. Responses to “Lighten up the Darkness”, which brought wishes of success, peace, love and happiness for 2016 were particularly gratifying and I repeat them here:

(1) London – “Interesting and thoughtful responses. Although many people are loving and giving, so many people think only of themselves. The winner of The Apprentice UK 2015 said that his ambition was ‘to get the world and everything in it’ (or something like this). No doubt he didn’t mean it literally and was trying to reassure Lord Sugar (UK business magnate) that he will work hard on his business, but what a thought to have in one’s head” – yes, remember to achieve success in business as there is no substitute for sales and hard work!

(2) Trinidad and Tobago – “We ought not forget that conflict can bring with it many positives. Our aim should not be to eradicate or mitigate conflict but to resolve it to the benefit of all” – how true, thanks for this!

(3) Barbados – “Timothy 6:10 tells us – For the love of money is the root of all evil…men will disregard all other principles to genuine love in order to generate wealth through unhealthy means therefore we’ll continue to have the challenges you have discussed. We can help to change the selfish attitude of man by starting in the primary schools; parents accompanying their children to Sunday School, seeing our neighbours as truly our brothers, avoid reaching beyond the unreachable material things, and most of all following the commandments that all the laws of Moses hang on” – this will lead to the reduction of the wealth divide!

(4) Trinidad and Tobago – “Great materials to internalize again. I like the points about solving problems and the primary roles of government and the private sector. And of course the real meaning of our holidays this season. Christmas time is now used to make more money…with items selling at higher and lower prices (Boxing Day) at stores…indulging in more spirits etc.” – we all have to get in problem solving mode and not let our egos get in the way!

(5) Barbados – “I rather like your sermon on the Christmas message. My preference at this juncture of my spiritual development and the social/economic state in which Barbados finds itself is “fear not for behold….” I think that there is a lot of fear in this country exhibited in anger of some youth, anxiety in some of the older generations, and hopelessness. The feeling that nothing can be done. So this year’s favourite lesson is not to fear but that each one does what his God has put in his heart to do. You say Love. I say compassion. We will survive as we have done in the past. But we have to do it together.” – As the Dalai Lama XIV has said “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

(6) Guyana – “Thank you for your acknowledgement of my sentiments on your last piece. I do hope that our Leaders in the Caribbean have a ‘Saul moment’ in 2016 on our road to ‘Damascus’.” – This leadership conversion is long overdue!

(7) St. Lucia – “Season’s greetings and thanks for all the magnificent columns and information you produced and shared in 2015. I hope 2016 will be a very productive year for all of us, especially farmers and all actors who are involved in the improvement and development of the agricultural value chain in the Caribbean region.” – Sustained agricultural success is vital for survival!

As the Daily Word counsels, let our hearts open wide as we mentally embrace all the people and situations in our lives. Let us be grateful for the blessings of wisdom, compassion, clarity, love, joy and friendship.

May The Power of the P’s – Public-Private Partnership – Profit, People and Planet (the triple bottom line) guide the thoughts of our leaders throughout 2016 and beyond.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)