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What is thoughtfulness? Why is thoughtfulness important? How do we become more thoughtful?

Thoughtfulness could be defined simply as "thinking about things". That's pretty vague, so let's define it a little more. Let's first look at the Webster Dictionary definition of the word "thoughtful"

Definition of THOUGHTFUL
a : absorbed in thought : meditative
b : characterized by careful reasoned thinking <a thoughtful essay>
a : having thoughts : heedful <became thoughtful about religion>
b : given to or chosen or made with heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others <a kind and thoughtful friend>
— thought·ful·ly adverb
— thought·ful·ness noun

As we can see, being thoughtful is more than just having thoughts. Being thoughtful means that you don't just act impulsively or emotionally, but insteady you take time to think about the implications and the affects of any of your actions.

Being Thoughtful in Our Daily Lives

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Thoughtfulness In Playing Games


On the first Friday of each month we open our home to our friends, neighbors and people from church who want to come over and play table games. Last night was game night at our house. Our living room and kitchen were filled with food,  tables, chairs, games, and people. It was a lot of fun.

During the earlier part of the night I had been playing another game. After that game ended, I looked around at what the others in the room were playing to see if there was some game I could join. 

For much of the night many people played a fun game called "What am I?" In the game you had a word written by someone else taped to your forehead. Then you'd ask other people in the game yes-and-no questions so that you could guess your word. For example, some of the questions might be similar to, "Am I a living thing?" or "Am I an animal?" or "Am I larger than a house?" or "Am I in this room?"

This game caused me some concern. In the game many of the people had very common words, such as apple, key chain, and horse on their foreheads. Three of the words (amoeba, Butterfingers, and bunion) concerned me because they were either uncommon or hard to guess. I wondered if the writers of the words had given any thought about how the people guessing the words would be affected. For example, how many people would even think of an amoebe, let alone know how to describe it. Then we have "Butterfingers", the name of a specific candy. Think of how many kinds of candy are made. Once a person might eventually guess "candy", how much longer would it take to guess the name of that specific candy. Lastly, let's look at the word "bunion". Who uses this word nowadays in regular conversation? How many people can clearly explain what it is? I had to look up the definition in a dictionary. Now let's think about the affects of the words upon the players. If a person receives a word that is very hard to guess, she might have that same word for the entire night and never be able to guess it. How would that make her feel?

When I saw those words on three heads, I suggested to the group they have guidelines about what type of words that they use. My thought was to use common everyday words (instead of very little used words like amoebe), words that are generic rather than specific (such as candy, rather than Butterfingers), and words that most people can guess in a reasonable amount of time. Some thought should be given to the words, rather than just the first word that comes into one's head. However, one of the men spoke out, "It is fine, we are just having fun." Since no one else said anything and I wasn't involved in the game, I let it drop. But I've been giving it a lot of thought since then. This brings me to the thought of having rules in games.

Some children and people often like to play spontaneous games with no clear rules. They don't want to define the game in advance. But, every game, even an impromptu game, has rules. They are either known or unknown, spoken or unspoken, thought out nor not. Without thoughtfulness, these rules can be fair or unfair. When they are not clearly stated in the beginning, then they are often dictated by the most dominant personalities within any situation. ******

When multiple people play a new game that only has vague rules, each person has a general sense of how the game should go, even if they haven't thought about it. In other words, each person has a subconscious set of rules that govern their sense of what is right and wrong. In a game with no apparent rules, there are still rules which haven't been clarified or expressed. This type of game may often follow the inner rules of the most dominant and outspoken person in the game. This person may control the flow of the game. If he is immature, then he may (subtly or obviously) direct the course of the game to his liking or to his advantage. The seeming "lack of rules" (which are actually hidden rules) can and often does cause injured feelings and damaged relationships.

Some games, such as this "What am I" game, seem to be governed by whatever gets the most laughs. There is nothing wrong with playing games that cause people to laugh a lot. That is a lot of fun. However, often times the things that embarrass others gets the most laughs. Those who are laughing sometimes don't think about how their laughing may affect other people. This may be caused by a lack of thoughtfulness.

Thoughtfulness is the act of giving advance thought to one's actions or behaviors. Consideration is the act of considering how one's actions will affect other people. To be kind to others, even in a game situation, we must thinking about how the flow of the game affects everyone in the game.

When people play a predefined game, such as a card game or a board game, (hopefully) the rules of the game have already been thought out and written in a way to be thoughtful and considerate of all the players.

In human interactions, such as playing games, advance thought should be given to what we do and how others would be affected. This would prevent or minimize wounding those around us. But, more than that, we need to think about how to bless others in all that we do.

When You Borrow Something

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Special considerations need to be considered before you borrow anything . It's not as simple as just using one of your own items. You need to take better care of a borrowed item.

Recently, when we went tent camping with our church group, I loaned my hammer to one of our friends who was camping  next to us. While he has using the hammer, he bent the hammer handle. He promptly told/showed me what he had done and said that he would replace it. Later that day he left camp, went to a hardware store, and bought me a better hammer than I had loaned to him. Needless to say, I would have no qualms about loaning him something else in the future.

In a second incident I loaned our canopy to someone to protect them from the rain. (We had wanted such a canopy for years but could never afford it, until recent years). When we loaned it to them the canopy was clean, neat and dry in its case. When the canopy was returned it was placed in our front porch, wet and standing up, for us to deal with. Later that night I brought it into our house and tried to spread it out so that it could dry. But for some reason it would not spread out easily as it usually does. It seemed to be binding up somewheres. Upon closer examination I saw that the frame was bent. (See drawings below) It was "out of square" by 6 inches when the corners are 33 inches apart. That means that it would be 17 inches out of square when the canopy is set up at 8 feet. (I got my square and measured it.) The problem with having a canopy be bent is that it affects the mechanisms so that they don't open and close as easily as before, even when they are straightened.



When you borrow anything from another person you draw upon the relationship that you have with that person.

How you borrow something can either enhance and strengthen a relationship or damage the relationship. For example, when you borrow something, if you take great care to guard it and carefully use it, and return the item back in excellent shape, the relationship is enhanced. Many of us enjoy loaning our items to friends. However, on the other hand, if the item comes back dirty, or damaged (especially with no explanation from the loanee) the relationship is damaged. Therefore, before borrowing anything, carefully think through what are your obligations and responsibilities, both to the item and to the owner.

Your relationship with the owner of an will be affected by how you care for the item when it is in your care and how you return it.

When you borrow and item

When you borrow something it's very easy to only think about the use for which you want to borrow the item . And not to give much thought to your obligations and responsibilities to the item and the owner of the item that you borrowed . This is article is written to help you understand what your obligations are when you borrow an item.

First you should know that when you borrow anything you are taking on a commitment and an obligation. You are committing to carefully watch over it the entire time that you have it and then returning the item in at least as good a shape as when you borrowed it.

One thing that you need to realize is that if the item gets lost or damaged you all responsible to get it repaired (with the owner's permission) or replace it with a comparable item of the same or higher value.

When you borrow anything you should watch over it the whole time that you have it AND do all that is in your power to bring it back in at least as good of condition and packaged as well as when you borrowed it. You should bring it back clean, dry, and (if applicable) all neatly packaged or folded. You should not put extra work on the owner to repair, clean up,  and dry out what you borrowed.

Time Frame

Set a definite time of when you will borrow the item and when you will bring it back. Make sure that you bring it back on time, and in good condition.


One consideration is if the item has any moving parts or operates in any way you need to ask for any special instructions about how it operates . You may even want to have the owner show you how it operates, then you can try it to make sure you know how. Listen carefully to anything that the owner may say about the use of the item. If you are too proud to listen to instructions, do not borrow the item. Go rent or buy something that will do the job.

Before the item is borrowed

Before any item is loaned out or borrowed, both parties should thoroughly inspect the item, including all working or moving parts. This will confirm to both of you as to the condition of the item. If applicable and possible, pictures should also be taken of the various parts of the item.

Special Instructions for Use

If the item has any working or moving parts, the …. borrower should ask if there are any special instructions.

When the item is returned

When the item(s) is returned, don’t just drop it off and go. To verify that the item came back in an undamaged condition both you and the owner should promptly thoroughly inspect the item, including all the moving or working parts. You should check out everything to make sure that all is in correct working order. By doing this right away, it prevents there being hurt feelings:

  • of the borrower thinking that he is falsely accused of damage that may have occurred after he returned the item,

  • Or the owner thinking that the item was damaged while it was loaned out, although it may have been damaged after it was returned.)

If the item is damaged

If you damage something do not try to fix it yourself without permission from the owner, however you should research where and how it can be repaired . With owner approval, you may take it to a professional and have them fix it . You should offer to have it fixed , but you should not proceed without the owner's permission.

Some types of damage affect the strength and operation of the whole unit. Other types of damage can be easily repaired by replacing the damaged part(s) and will then afterwards as good or better than before.

There are usually two motives for getting something fixed after you damage something.

  • The first motive is to have the damaged item repaired in a professional manner or replaced. This involves having the courage and honesty to disclose to the owner what happened and to show him the damage . It is up to him whether he wants to live with a repaired damaged item, let you have it repaired, or if he wants another undamaged item in exchange.

  • The second motive is to try to hide that damage from the owner. This often involves  a hasty job, hoping that the owner will not see the damage . This leaves the property in hidden damaged condition.