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Privately Peaceful and Grateful

Privately Peaceful and Grateful

“So you took her in order to save her, Charlie, is that right?” “Yes, Mother.” “Well, you shouldn’t have done that, Charlie, should you?” “No, Mother.” “Will you tell the Colonel where you’ve hidden her?” “No, Mother.” Mother thought for a moment or two. “I didn’t think so,” she said. She looked the Colonel full in the face. “Colonel, am I right in thinking that if you were going to shoot this dog, presumably it was because she’s no use to you any more – as a foxhound I mean?” “Yes,” the Colonel replied, “but what I do with my own animals, or why I do it, is no business of yours, Mrs Peaceful. I don’t have to explain myself to you.” “Of course not, Colonel,” Mother spoke softly, sweetly almost, “but if you were going to shoot her anyway, then you wouldn’t mind if I were to take her off your hands and look after her, would you?” (from Morpurgo, Michael. Private Peaceful (p. 69). HarperCollins Publishers).

Charlie got to save the dog because of his mother’s intervention and his own – he was most grateful to her and especially how calmly she arrived at a solution to benefit each party. Now and then it feels good to have someone on your side when you’re trying to do the right thing, but perhaps you have gone about it in the wrong way. We feel grateful for the act of kindness. This feeling of gratefulness or gratitude is the positive emotion one feels when another person has intentionally given, or attempted to give, one something of value (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006). And gratitude is everywhere in sport when we search for it. The more we trust that our giving is enough and we do not demand others to reciprocate, the more the act of giving begets great acts of giving. Research has shown that individuals who report habitually experiencing gratitude engage more frequently in prosocial behaviours than do individuals who experience gratitude less often (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002). As the only saying goes, “The hand that gives, gathers”.


Bartlett, & DeSteno1, D. (2006). Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior. Psychological Science, 17(4), 319–.

McCullough, M.E., Emmons, R.A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112–127.

Morpurgo, M (1999). Private Peaceful (p. 69). HarperCollins Publishers.

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