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Gaining Maturity by Cultivating Appreciation

The often-forgotten virtue of appreciation can transform your relationships with others and with God.

Indian woman on left with quote on right side with purple background

Photo courtesy of Igor Srdanovic

Think of all the people you’ve interacted with today. Regardless of whether you’re related to them, whether you’re friends with them, or whether you just met them, did you treat them with kindness? Did you say “thank you” and express heartfelt appreciation for them?

In a 1976 BYU Devotional address, Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–1994), who was then serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that the ultimate maturity comes in expressing true appreciation. He encourages us to be appreciative for many things, particularly our families and our spiritual gifts.

“The most mature students, the most mature and successful people who participate in marriage, are those who understand appreciation,” Elder Ashton says. He explains that many marriages fail partly because spouses do not appreciate each other’s actions and love.

“I can’t overemphasize the fact today that one of the greatest virtues any person can have individually and on an eternal basis is the virtue of appreciation,” he says.

When we stop and ponder the spiritual gifts God has given us, God will show us that he has blessed us with more gifts than we realized. And as we express appreciation to God and to our spouses, parents, or roommates, we will see his hand more in our lives.

“Please, please learn and practice appreciation—in some quarters a forgotten virtue,” Elder Ashton says.

So take a few minutes today and text your parents, call your friend, or say a prayer of gratitude. You’ll feel closer to God if you do.

Read Elder Ashton’s full article, “Appreciation—Sign of Maturity.”
Source Publication: BYU Speeches
—Alissa Holm, Mormon Insights
Photo by montillon.a

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  1. This is so true. Like President Uchtdorf said, “Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes! A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues.” It’s important to appreciate the little things—the little things in life as well as the little things people around us do every day. Gratitude can open our eyes to blessings we may otherwise have overlooked, and help us feel closer to God physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I know I’ve seen that in my life.

  2. In personal relationships with friends and family, as well as those with fellow workers, expressing appreciation and gratitude can’t be stressed enough. It’s a rarity that any one of us accomplishes anything in this life without assistance from another, whether it’s directly or indirectly–and certainly that includes deity. Elder Ashton was a master at articulating the importance of human relations, the day-to-day courtesies and kindnesses that nurture one another. Thanks for highlighting one of his talks!

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