Why is gratitude a character trait that is critical to the wellbeing of every person? Dennis Prager discusses the connection between gratitude and happiness and much more in this very special Thanksgiving Fireside Chat. Watch today! Recorded on Nov. 21, 2018.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Honey, I'm Dennis Prager. This is my home and hello, as I remind you each week at what we call my fireside chats so real fireside, it's a real chap every thing about, it is real. There's nothing scripted, just a chance to offer you some thoughts, take your questions and as it were, enjoy each other, and I think about the opening topic. Each and by the way I do have dimension for those of you who missed, I guess the last eight or so I have been forbidden to have my cigar had the first, forty or so chats, because the Facebook feels that it corrupts the youth, so we could not promoted on Facebook? Am I have offered my thoughts on that? How much less free a country we live in then, when I was a kid it's it's.
Very sad thing to me because it was a big part of the chat it gave it a real in formal sense and, sense of the real and my relaxation, but it is what it is. I'm just noting it given the thanks. Giving period that were him. I thought I would talk to you about what could arguably be my favourite subject. Let's put at this wait, I dont have a more favourite subject. There may be subjects tied for first place. This might be. This would certainly be one of them, and that is gratitude. Gratitude is so important that I am about to offer you a thought that if you take it seriously is completely life. Changing there goes. The mother of happiness is gratitude and the
Other of goodness is gratitude, in fact. That in many ways is what links happiness with goodness. So if you have happiness here and goodness here and they go, There is like an olympic ring that attaches the two at this point of gratitude. It's so powerful gratitude that it is not possible to be happy if you are not grateful and it is not possible to be a good person if you're not grateful. That cannot be said about any other thing with regard to both happiness and goodness, there are other important aspects to goodness and to happiness, but
Nothing is this link, that's how important it is, and it's it's. We not only don't live in an age that inspires a people, especially young people, but not just young people to be good. For it inspires ingratitude. This is a first in american history. Maybe even some ways world history, where a generation is being raised to be ungrateful. This is astonishing, and it is therefore it guarantees. I mean it guarantees it guarantees that a lot of people will not be kind, and a lot of people will not be happy. What's an example I'll go back to gratitude in a moment? What is an example of being raised to be ungrateful? Well, the way in Americans are taught about America. There's no reason to be grateful to be an American. Why would you be grateful to be
something that not only is no better than any other thing a, but in fact, is is filled with racism and sexism and oppression and homophobia and xenophobia. Why would you be happy to be an american, especially if you are a woman, a black or a latino, or, asian did I miss any body, our gay? Oh my. You you just you just are oppressed. When I speak colleges and some member of one of those groups gets up at a microphone says. Are you saying that we aren't? Might my group whatever might be We we women are not oppressed sake, not oppressed. The luck
women in the history of a female them? What are you kidding? You gotta be joking oppressed women in America pressed what the hell is wrong with you wanted, you go to college and then I realized I met a college. You have to learn from this. The amazing thing you have to learn to be grateful, but in some cases you have to be learned to be ungrateful, that's the I'll be here. We are teaching young p, to be miserable, literally miserable miserably, both senses, misery and not nice. No one who was ungrateful is nice. It does it's not possible in grat justice. Gratitude is the mother of Goodness and and and happiness in gratitude is the mother of cruelty, and said this: is it actually angers me as you can tell I do I'm upset by it?
I walked around every day. I am. I can't leave how lucky I of course there's an answer that our misery, misery making left. I will say of course, your white. Well then, if being white with care don t you happiness and gratitude. Why are male supposedly the one group that is not oppressed. Why we have the highest percentage of suicides and the United States wonder. Why may because the point is idiotic when you think every white person is walking around great not if they're on the left there not believe me, that's the whole point of being on the left grateful for what their health that's good. That's not good by the way to start I know how bad the human condition is. I note because
I'm a Jew. Am I that's? One reason is that the only reason you don't have to be a Jew to know how bad the human condition is, but it certainly one of them. I grew up asked the Holocaust, but I knew them about it. I went to synagogue with Holocaust survivors people with tattoos, the numbers the Nazis tattooed on their arms. They were common site. In my in my synagogue, growing up in New York and what the these people. Most of these people lost virtually every relative spouses- children, parents, cousins, brothers, sisters, gassed, shot, tortured, rape, murdered in every other way. I'm well aware of how bad the world is, you don't have to be a Jew. Was I You know how bad it is, but it it comes with the territory.
At least the way, the time that I grew up and the awareness of the Holocaust, but I mean you got to be pretty ignorant to not know how bad it is in much of human history and in in the world today in so many places, and then you are not grateful to be an american or the way many new listen all over the world. The lot of you should be grateful and in many of your countries, not just american should be grateful Speaking as an American examined American, I mean oh, where, wherever you might be watching whatever country you might be item off their teaching, you to be ungrateful, like people are being taught in the United States, so I can speak about the country. I know best. The United States of America.
If you are any of the groups I mentioned, you are very, very lucky to be in this country, gay, hispanic, asian, female black. Very very lucky, and if you see yourself as oppressed, I I condemn those who taught you that drivel that that destructive nonsense, And you are, can you are letting yourself be condemned to a life of anger and misery and and and by the way, meanness. Because if you are a grateful, if you are ugly in ungrateful, you will act it out, it is inevitable. That's why I said gratitude is the mother of Goodness in gratitude is the mother of of Non goodness You know why the Germans elected Hitler could stay, we're show so resentful of of being oppressed. They were so ungrateful
their situation, o the they Versailles Treaty. What is it what it did to us because they saw themselves as Does anyone who sees him or herself as a victim is by definition and unjust? for human being nobody's grateful for being a victim right right. That's definitional, so being taught that you are a victim. Insurers, you, you will have a miserable life, it's it's an it ensures it. So is it pretty important subject? Gratitude doesn't come naturally gratitude it. Just doesn't that's why parents good parents say that their kids, I wouldn't, I would love to know the number. Nobody knows the number, but I bet you the average parent has said to their child or their children more than ten thousand
who's in times say? Thank you. I am sure it's in the vicinity of ten thousand now. Why is that? Why wouldn t your child one say thank you. Have someone has done something good to you? Why wouldn't that? Suffice because we're not naturally grateful human nature being pretty deep d d. Not so good is not naturally grateful. You got alluring gratitude that amazing. You have to learn gratitude. If the learn, almost everything good, you don't have to learning. Gratitude in gratitude comes naturally, but gratitude has to be learned and it has To be renewed, you have to keep the gratitude. If
but he does something very kind tee to you or for you. You are grateful and you may be grateful even for twenty four hours but after a week. That's why my favorite book, because it teaches wisdom and without wisdom, you have no chance at a good life. Is the Bible and This is terrific story, of course, the Hebrews Israelites their enslaved in Egypt. They are taken out of Egypt to be free people. And the first thing they do after obtaining freedom is complain that basically much of what the middle of the first five books of the Bible is the Hebrews Israelites Jews. Whatever term you wish to use complaining about their situation, in fact to the point where at one point they said we want to go back to Egypt, the least we had good meet there. You rather be a slave with what you are.
Be a slave with meet them. A free person with Manna Lance that some which proves another thing: people don't yearn for freedom. That's a common misconception. We don't yearn for much that's good. We have everything good as a value. Values need to be learned and gratitude is a value. So you should think right now who you grateful to be an interesting question right. Might this moment think whom are you grateful to? What are you grateful to? May not? You may not have a big list, which is pretty unfortunate, so gratitude has to be fostered and you have to remember who did you something good? You can't let it you can't let it to become what have you done for me lately, that's a big deal
people's attitude towards God. That was that's the case in and in the book of exodus they, basically what what in our day that all these miracles to get us out of Egypt. But what have you done for me in the past week? Nothing, that's human nature! That's why I love the idea, the Bible, it's brilliant. I have always cultivated gratitude and it's one of the reasons. Why am happy guy and I even might offer the possibility- maybe I'm a nice guy its gratitude? That's the secret when people have done me something good. I remember it forever. I make sure to remember it forever. I got a letter, you know it's one of the great teachers of my life has been being a public figure for almost all my adult life, and I
gotten mail for decades from people. I read a lot of it can respond to all of it. Can You can read all of it, but I read a lot of it. So here is, will an email. I got this past week. Somebody wrote me a thing from Ohio, a woman wrote to me and. Said, I have been listening to you for over twenty years and now I will not listen to you any more. I get that type of letter regularly. I mean it's onawandah on a one exaggerated anyway, it's not every single day, but I get it right. Lee. I I you know I used to enjoy you. I I can no longer listen to you, what happens Meath fertile if she was telling the truth that she's listen to me for twenty years. I think I have earned gratitude that fair, unless he's a masochistic. Why which he listened,
for twenty years, unless she was benefiting from hearing me right right: ok, So why is she not? She found out that, though she ass. She. Somebody enquired about my giving a speech. They were told by my staff that I uh that I charge of feed. Her speaking and she now no longer will listen to me now. It so The whole thing is so interesting. I what does she think that I can only speak for free? I give a lot of free speeches, but Firstly, for me to go to Ohio Means, let's say my speech is on Wednesday, so I have to leave on Tuesday and then broadcast from Ohio on Wednesday than give my speech Wednesday night then then broadcast on Thursday
Into three eastern time and then make a late flight back on Thursday, so I am gone Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday to give one talk in Ohio. So I should leave my home for three days for nothing, otherwise I am unworthy of being listened to now, my point and I'm being so open with you about the letter and about my life, because it such a good example. How How is it possible that her sheep mine didn't go well, you know he makes a living to or it's a long trip. You know, I'm not asking him to stop by his reign studio and allay this is across the country and anyway, I'm so grateful to him for all the goodies done. Am I gonna stop listening
I gotta get angry. That's what she should have thought, I'm not hurt. Believe me, none of the stuff hurts me, I'm telling you the story, because the woman was incapable of weighing all the good that I have done in her view over twenty years, according to her email and then it's all over people. Do that all the time? What have you done from? today? Or did you disappoint me today? Everybody disappoints everybody, hello. This is a rule of life. Every one in your life will disappoint you on occasion. It is inevitable. Even your dog will disappoint and that saying something because they're pretty consistent. So when they do.
Two point you? What will you do? Excuse me? Will you say out? That's it all all the one before things. This person is done for me in an all all of our years together matter, not at all, because today she or he disappointed me who will remain friendless and not to mention here no more marriage if it if it's your spouse, you're talking about all of this, the antidote is gratitude. And then you could say okay. So in light of that, I have disappointed my friends have no doubt, and my friends have disappointed me and I loved them and there and what? If there is a disappointment, I just chalk up to the fact that even my friends are human beings. Humans are frail here,
have flaws even my wonderful, wonderful, wonderful friends, and even I, and so I when I do it, a balance it with. Oh, my god, I'm so grateful to them their friendship, for these years has meant so much to me. That's that's the power of gratitude. You don't have your Euro loser You are literally a Lou, you lose at life and we are cultivating ingratitude in the United States. See yourself as a victim. You remember, victim group would want me, woe unto me poor me poor me. It is poor! You. You gonna leave a miserable life. Everything good is avoided are you if you rely on your human nature, to guide you, your screwed and I'm using a
through a new word? Well, it's not there's a stronger word than that, but I cant use it. Ok, that's that's how important it is, but you ve gotta cultivated as a value. You have to understand and how important it is you can rely on well, I feel grateful it doesn't matter. You feel grateful you have to be grateful. I don't care how you feel you ve got to be grateful. You have to express gratitude, will be thanked lately, good question who view thank lately, so there is gratitude there, Aren't you tell me that every night, if they have dinner every night with their kids, they have them say something they are grateful for that happen. That day, those kids are very
very lucky least try to do it once a year on Thanksgiving. What are you grateful for being an interesting discussion around the table and, if you are in gratitude, outweighs your gratitude? you're, not a nice person. Now you may not want to be a good person, but I'll bet, you wanna, be a happy person, but you can't be that either. If ingratitude outweighs gratitude, oh can ok, it is time for Your questions right, ok Hereupon sixteen years old
Iceland, a Prager Force member in Iceland. I have a great time visiting Iceland just want you to know. Would you like to give by the weights most secular country, in the world, if I'm not mistaken and said interesting question, one effect that will have on the icelandic people. You like to give a lecture on liberty in Iceland, if offered, I would love to come back to that answer. You.
Maria sixteen in Peru also Prager Force in Peru. I Maria I Dennis. I find it very difficult to argue about abortion because most of the most compelling arguments, I've heard can't be used in my country's context, for example, been Shapiro says becoming pregnant because of rape is not common at all, but here it's not rare, especially in the poorest parts of the country, the youngest girl to ever give birth.
Is peruvian, I think she was nine when an interesting little factoid. By the way, there is a lot of rape in Latin America, and I know that- and there were a lot of great people in Latin America. That's a given. I've been to most latin american countries. I love going there, but to deny that this is true is doesn't help any body. It helps the left with its myth that all cultures are identical, but it doesn't help the victims. These are real. Victims doesn't help to prevent this from happening.
If you go to the doktor, you know what the doctor to tell you your well. If you have a health problem, the pro choice always use the argument about how so many girls drop out of school because they get pregnant by fourteen some girls just drop out because they are free to get raped on their way to school and amazing is an amazing, little email Given the circumstances, how could I argue against abortion? I I agree with you. I don't. I don't think that saying that being adamant that, at that someone who has been raped, the woman or you, girls who have been raped should not have an abortion, is gonna, be the most effective way to make the position about
worth of a human foetus. I agree it's it's it's emotionally. The most difficult points of any of us who want people to understand that the creature that is made by sexual intercourse is is infinitely valuable. I fully acknowledge it is. It is our most difficult hurdle. And I mean it's not a point that I even push in Amerika. Certainly, where there is per capita, I believe a considerably less rape them you describe? It is pretty rare and it is not to use rare circumstances, to make generalised principles in general, a woman whose ex an abortion in the United States had voluntary sexual intercourse? She was not rape. However, having said that
she, my video on the worth of the human foetus or they of the unborn child. Whatever you term you wish to use, I don't care about the term. I care about the morality and I talk at all about legality or non legally, and I open up the video to. I just talk about one question: the worth of that which is produced by the Union of Egg and sperm. Is it a pimple? Is it a nascent human life? Is it a fold, human life? What is it rape does not
change the worth of that creature. Now that doesn't mean that I would force a raped girl to have a baby, but I can't I can't change truth because of the terrible circumstances under which the truth operates.
If, if the human, if the human being inside a human being, has value, it has value in any way shape or form, it was made, that's debts. That is just honesty. What what is it that the human Phoebus has infinite worth if it was produced out of love, but if it was produced out of rape and has no worth its? That's, not logical the issues, not God. The issue was not religion. The issue was just logic, so that's the dumping is totally honest with
I admit it is the toughest of the of the hurdles in the pro life were like that, and I wouldn't push on it. I wouldn't say I'm going to force you at four hundred and thirteen to have a child, but if you ask me is what you're carrying infinitely precious? Yes, even though it was disgusting, the way it was made, but that's true for a boring human. What, if a person, what if what if the person is allowed to be born, would you say them? Would you say that a ten you attach to at a ten day old that was produced by Roy? Is less valuable them attendee? All that was not produced by rape, of course, not so. Why this change depending on the date? That's that's the honest, logical, moral, even atheist answer I have not invoked
I'm sorry, I'm sorry and I'm sorry that these- wages are so common where you live by the way, There are so many people in the first world, especially the United States, would like to adopt babies newborns in particular that maybe
It just oughta be away to say too to this this poor girl. You know we're not forcing you to give birth, but we would like you to know what they preciousness of watcher carrying and that you could make some wonderful husband and wife unbelievably happy and give that child happiness by by offering the child for adoption. When my children is adopted, there is zero difference between a biological child than adults.
This year? Oh, ok, just a thought: Jacob. Eighteen, California also Prager Force NICE, which president that you think had the biggest impact and why Franklin Pierce I'm kidding. I just wanted to see how you react this most of you thinking, Franklin Pierce, whose he is no not come. Franklin peer, she's, not well known. I just took an obscure president in full Say something silly its it's it generally considered between Washington and Lincoln. A great case could be made for either one Washington is really the father of a marriage he's walking away optics allowing himself to be a king or anything like that not be real.
Like that in re, elected and and and so much else about him and of Course Lincoln was it was just the giant in in the way he ultimately one the civil war and then try to put the union back together again, there are not the only ones who had big impact, but those would be the two that comes to mind. A leash, forty five years old, Rancho, Santa FE, California, our oldest child, the seventeen- we got a synagogue weekly, but he hates going. Don't believe in God and nothing to do with Judaism? You don't fight it any more. We always have articulated our values and talked about the importance of morality. He is not a rule follower. In fact, he is one of the most creative rule breakers.
How do we respond to him and what more can we do. Her son sounds exactly like me. I it is going to synagogue. And v. I was born out of my mind, so I I understand the issue is a very tough there's, no perfect answer to this I don't like forcing religion, but on the other hand, I don't like not forcing religion because you for school If your kid said, you know, I can't stand school is in high school assume at seventeen in our that I can't stand school? I don't want to go to school. Now you say I'm sorry, there's no choice. Now. Why. Is there no choice about school, but there is a choice about synagogue, because we think schools more important.
We're, not afraid that if we force them to go to school, they'll hate learning, why are we afraid if we force them to go to church or synagogue, they'll hate God, a religion I don't know? Maybe there is a good reason, but I don't I don't I don't know what it is I was forced to go, and I couldn't stand it just like your son. Ended up going my whole adult life to this day, because, as an adult, I came to realise how important it was now there Could be a good argument, may be this compromise every other week or I don't know what to say. What else do you do on the Sabbath? Is it is it? Is it is it a general loving warmly logistic environment or isn't it? I don't know what else is coerced
but I was a rule breaker too, and I totally identify with it. If I could speak to him, I would explain to him the importance of all these things at seventeen everybody's in a feast. Let's be honest, I mean I'm I'm overstating. They were believers, but you know it's it's it's totally natural and I'm not putting it down. That's why you have to answer it in make it clear that if there is a God who said do not murder murder risen wrong. An idle drive me crazy in her scream and fight, but you have logic on your side, Who says murder is wrong if there is no God, the state, your conscience. So what.
And we ve done videos and books on that and good luck, Chica thirteen holiday Florida. What's your favorite type of cheese swimming, to get a variety of questions, all acknowledge that actually sheep cheese, Nor can I say I love it. I love most cheese. I don't like the smelly french Jesus. I met the little too strong but I'll of cheese. There are not many people who don't love cheese, that's say, but if you haven't tried sheep cheese, it's it's it's special. Thank you. What's our time? Folks.
All right. Then, let's keep these for next week, it's good to end on cheap cheese. It was one of the when I took the speaking. They said, try to end every talk with something about cheese and Anna and a work to have you just worked out perfectly today. Hey it's great to be with you and keep those emails coming in. Let the friends know about this. Some pretty important stuff to talk about with you. So have a wonderful holiday, specifically in this case thanksgiving by the way, if you're watching this and it's the middle of summer- and it's not thanksgiving. None of these are dated. When I talk about these things, even if it's in the news,
I'm always thinking. If somebody watches this five years from now, will it be relevant? My hope is that it will be so thanks again for my house to yours, I'm Dennis Prager see next week
Transcript generated on 2020-04-27.