Gratitude

A couple of years ago the captain of my school started “The Gratitude Project”. Her goal was to encourage all of the people in the school community to take time to notice and remember things they are grateful for. Each classroom had Gratitude Jars and students and teachers were encouraged to write on a slip of paper something they were grateful for, to put in the jar. The project was as successful as those kinds of things are. Some teachers got on board and some classes did some cool things. Two years on the jars make appearances from time to time in various guises. I guess there were about forty of them kicking around. One can’t blame the chaplain for recycling right?

Humans are a strange bunch. On a company and nation/ state level our culture is driven by growth. GDP must constantly increase, productivity must constantly improve. We must keep biggering and Biggering and BIGGERING!

But on a personal level we are seemingly compelled to take everyone, including ourselves down. I read a beautiful poem today, written by Nananoyz at Praying for Eyebrows about her mother who was never told she was beautiful. It made me think about the way we always assume people know that we think they are beautiful, strong, amazing and fabulous and so we never tell them. Often until it is too late.

I have recently been feeling a bit unappreciated. It is a long story and I am afraid if I write it in words it will sound peevish and just plain self centred so I won’t. I will simply say that as the end of the school year is upon us I didn’t feel that some students were showing as much appreciation for my efforts as they should. I wallowed in my self pity for a while until I kicked myself in the arse, reminded myself that part of the charm of teenagers is that they are inherently selfish and got on with it.

Then as I was sitting in my daughter’s graduation (she attended the school where I teach) a parent of a student who I had taught in her first two years of high school was sitting next to me. This particular student has learning difficulties. Unlike most she just gets on with it. She never asks for extra time, extra attention, or for someone to make allowances for her. She just asks for clarification, a lot. Even though we aren’t supposed to have favourites, she is a stand out in my memory bank.

Out of the blue the mum of this student says “Thank you for being so patient with my daughter, you helped her so much,” I was stunned. It has been four years since I had a class with her. But her mother remembered me and took the time to thank me. In all honesty I should be thanking her. Thanking her for allowing me to be part of the life of such an amazing student. But mostly for reminding me that we should not be focussing on who is thanking US but rather who in our lives needs our gratitude.

This post is part of this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt, “Giving Thanks”. Although it is not as sexy as you guys are used to I felt moved to share my thoughts. Please click on the link below and see who else is being wicked this week.