The 30 Days of Thankfulness Challenge is sharing gratitude for 30 days particularly through social media posts, to keep accountable, and to encourage others to participate. Often messages are brief, and meaningful with a photo and short, personal description.
Dustin Bradshaw, a BYU–Hawaii alumnus, said he has shared gratitude posts on social media for the past eight years and remarked on how the positive response goes a long way.
“I started one year when my little cousin was challenged by her sixth grade class to do it. Since then, I have lived all over the world, and during November, I have friends and family from all walks of life who do the challenge too.”
Bradshaw said, “First and foremost, I am thankful for my wife, Lady Hiva. She is the most generous and compassionate person I know. I am a far better person because of the person she is. Next would be our children. They bring so much joy to our lives. Tied closely to that is the knowledge the gospel brings that we can live together as a family if we strive to utilize the Atonement to become better each day.”
Hannah Smock, a sophomore studying graphic design from New York, shared, “Gratitude is the catalyst for all other Christlike attributes. When we are grateful, we are closer to heaven and we become more like our Savior.”
Reflecting on gratitude as a catalyst to develop to be more like Jesus Christ, Bradshaw said, “I believe it helps me to see more how we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father.
“When I am striving to be grateful, I can see how although we all have weaknesses. We are inherently good, and by pointing it out, we promote growth and ultimately help each other reach our full potential.”
Smock referenced an April 2014 General Conference talk from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Grateful in Any Circumstances,” as he expressed the importance of incorporating gratitude daily.
“How blessed we are if we recognize God’s handiwork in the marvelous tapestry of life. Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision. It inspires humility and fosters empathy toward our fellowmen and all of God’s creations. Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes. A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues,” said Elder Uchtdorf.
In response to this quote, Everett Tracy, a freshman majoring in graphic design from Mililani, Hawaii, explained how to have gratitude is to develop the Christlike attribute of humility. “It causes you to be humble, once you realize everything you have.”
Elder Utchdorf continued, “May we live in thanksgiving daily, especially during the seemingly unexplainable endings that are part of mortality. May we allow our souls to expand in thankfulness toward our merciful Heavenly Father. May we ever and constantly raise our voices and show by word and deed our gratitude to our Father in Heaven and to His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.”
Smock expressed, “I feel like we can forget our gratitude when we don’t express it as much. When you take the time to think about what you are grateful for and record it, then you realize how many more blessings you have.”
Tracy added, “It’s important to express gratitude so you know what you have. It gives you an opportunity to appreciate it and to give your thanks to God for all the blessings you have.”
Bradshaw shared how gratitude is one of the easiest ways for others to show appreciation. “For me, it often goes beyond what a gift can provide. A small note or mention of gratitude helps others know I am thankful for their efforts and love on my behalf. It also helps me remember how all I have is the result of others helping me.”
Ayumu Mizuno, a freshman majoring in information systems from Japan, committed to sharing his gratitude daily in the 30 Day Thankfulness Challenge and said he looks forward to sharing that which he is thankful for in a way that gives back.
Of all the things Mizuno could express gratitude for, he said it would be his parents. In retrospect, he chose to honor them by showing them gratitude in any way possible.
Mizuno shared, “I wouldn’t be here at this school if it weren’t for my parents. They have done everything for me. Why not show gratitude?”
Tracy expressed how he is most thankful for his family from the constant support they give him. When Tracy began to attend BYUH, he said he realized how grateful he felt to have grown up in Oahu.
Smock also expressed, “One way I can express my gratitude is by being kind to others, I feel like that is one of the biggest ways to show how I am grateful.”
Reflecting on what makes Smock most grateful, she said it is her friends and family. Having origins in Laie, her mother is from Oahu, but she has family living in Ewa and Kaneohe as well. Being able to attend BYUH with her brother is another way Smock feels gratitude. She said her brother is a freshman this semester.
Smock said in high school she participated in the 30 Days of Thankfulness by using social media and posting a photo, but most of the time she would reflect and write in her journal.