Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful


My youngest bowing before enjoying a meal at VeggieGrill

One of the things I appreciate about Japanese culture is how we were taught to bow–bow before eating; bow before entering church; bow before entering a martial arts dojo; bow before fighting. Every chance I get, I try to teach my sons to bow. The bow is like a pause that not only shows respect, but also gives one the opportunity to be thankful for what one is going to experience.


My oldest bowing before tennis lessons

Being thankful often takes time. It annoys me when my sons say thank you to someone when they aren’t looking or in the process of opening the gift they were just given. I want them to stop and be aware of the feelings of gratitude that are necessary to be truly thankful.

The truth is that I need to slow down and do the same thing. I used to say thank you like a knee jerk reaction because I was taught that it was polite to thank others. Now I try to add a “for” and/or “because” clause to my thank yous.<bow> “Thank you for reading this post because it makes me feel like I have something valuable to offer the world.”</bow> (I stole the html idea from Rarasaur. Thank you for your creativity and generosity, Rara, because you make the blogosphere a better place.)

The Guardians

Both my boys thankful for the preservation of imagination.

There is also something humbling about prostrating oneself before an other. Imagine if we bowed before and after we had an argument. Wouldn’t it be much better to be thinking, “thank you for taking the time to argue with me” than “I can’t believe you grew up in the same Universe of logic that I did, you moron” at the end of an argument?

I wonder if any Japanese in Japan bow before and/or after having sex. Luckily, I haven’t had to have that talk with my boys yet. Men should, however, definitely bow more to women in general. I’m planning on teaching my boys to bow down to women every opportunity they get, even if it is a mental bow.

On that note, I would like to bow down in gratitude to the incredible women whom I follow: My wife, Mirth and Motivation, NikotheOrb, Dieuonthegrass, Sthetic, Caroline Skanne, This is My Thought Translator, Joy and Woe, The Temenos Journal, Rarasaur, Dianne Gray, Bodhisattvaintraining, and Oliviaobryon. If I left anyone out, I humbly apologize–cutting and pasting URLs has given me a glue high.

Fox TP

My youngest showing gratitude for toilet paper.

Thank you for reading, sharing and/or smiling.

Who would you bow down to in gratitude? Please share.


26 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

  1. diannegray says:

    This is absolutely wonderful!

    Thank you so much for including me in your ‘incredible women’ list. I see I am in very good company!

    I love this picture of your son – absolutely fantastic!

    Again – it has been a delight and a pleasure

  2. Thank you for your kindness

  3. NIKOtheOrb says:

    The etyological origins of the word “Thank” is the same as the verb “To think”; essentially, when saying ‘Thank you’ you are really acknowledging that someone thought of you in some way, brought you into consideration while doing something. This is what I think of whenever I tell someone “Thank you” and, like you, I always have a reason because I bear the etymological origins in mind. When I say ‘thank you’ (and I always look the person in the eye when saying this offline) it is genuine and sincere because I actually appreciate the thought. It is not just an empty phrase to me. Lovely post.

    And I thank you for considering me among incredible women. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      I agree–intention is key. Words are just random sounds without the feeling and thought behind them. I really believe that bowing creates the feelings of gratitude.
      Thanks for being an incredible woman/blogger/artist/visionary/storyteller/etc.

  4. I love your story; the timing was right. Now that I live in Thailand and bowing is the “correct thing,” to do. However, I felt very uncomfortable doing it when I first got here. Today it comes natural, and I understand the meaning behind it, a word-less juster of respect and acceptance. Really like your photo of your son, It tells a story in itself; Respect for the paper that wipes you! lol

    • Kozo says:

      I like your addition of acceptance to the meanings of bowing. I also like how the bow in Thailand is usually done with the hands in prayer position. Thanks for the overseas comment.

  5. Dieu says:

    Wow, thank you for the mention. The world needs more fathers and parents like you who teach the importance of gratefulness to their children.

    • Kozo says:

      As you and I know, the world needs men who understand and treat women better–I venture to guess that “the critic” is a man. I did not learn these lessons of gratitude and compassion when I was younger, so I have made mistakes and hurt others in the past. I do not want my sons to make the same mistakes. Thank you for helping me and my sons learn to be more compassionate and empathetic with your wonderful writing.

  6. rarasaur says:

    Thank you!! What a beautiful post. Thanks for your wisdom, Kozo, and for teaching your boys to honor imagination!

    • Kozo says:

      I’m not sure if you saw The Rise of the Guardians yet, Rara, but it is a beautiful film that teaches children to honor imagination and confront fear. Now that I think about it, your blog could be called “honor imagination,” although Rarasaur is much cooler.

  7. eof737 says:

    These photos are so adorable. TY for sharing them! 😉

  8. eof737 says:

    Thanks for the pingback! 😉

  9. oliviaobryon says:

    This will make me more mindful of feeling true gratitude when I say thank you. I agree with you that it becomes too automatic when we are being polite. I also love the idea of being grateful for arguments. Your sons are lucky to have you as their teacher. I hope to teach my kids the same thing someday– and, love the pics!

  10. When I am in Japan and back in Oahu, I always encounter this “bowing culture” and practice it myself. I feel it is the epitome of politeness.

    • Kozo says:

      I agree Frances. It is such a wonderful practice. It would be great if we could make it the norm on the “mainland.” Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  11. I could have sworn I left a reply to this earlier. Anyway, I guess not.

    You’re oldest looks so much taller/bigger now! (even though I think I only saw him 2 or 3 times) I can’t believe it.

    Thank you for adding me to your list of incredible women whom you follow. That was really nice of you!

    Since you gave thanks to me, I’d like to give thanks to you. It actually fits quite well because I’ve always wanted to tell you this (not sure if I already have): On the first day of class, you called on me to answer a question and as I sat there thinking of an answer you said, “ooup, too slow!” and called on someone else. Because of that, I didn’t really like you after the first day of class. I thought to myself, “how mean, he didn’t even give me time to think! .. I’m too slow??.. I knew I should have taken Dickerson” … and yet, after a few days, I completely changed my mind about you. So, thank you for providing me with a great example of how wrong we can be when we’re too quick to judge people. It’s funny, i never thought of it this way, but you went from being someone who didn’t give me enough time to think and therefore didn’t listen to me, to being someone who encouraged me to write a blog on the critical thinking process so that I could be heard by many. Most importantly, thank you for validating my first and only spoken word piece. It meant a lot.

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Crystal. Sorry about cutting you off–I was dealing with a lot of ego back then, still am, but I’m trying to be more empathetic. I think you should post your spoken word piece on your blog. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  12. seeker says:

    _/\_ Namaste. in my language, Pax tecum (Peace be with you). Thank you.

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