My school is celebrating gratitude this week. Before the school year started everyone on our staff took this survey to identify our character strengths. I was not surprised to find that my top strength was gratitude. So this week brings me great joy.
It also seemed weighty to me as I heard colleagues recently discussing the lack of gratitude from students and families. This basically seemed to come down to people not saying thank you or people complaining about something being given to them or someone expecting something to be given to them. These concerns may all be valid. I can’t say for certain, both because I wasn’t a part of the interactions being discussed and because I tried not to listen to my colleagues’ complaints. Too often I hear people who live lives of privilege (at least in comparison) complaining that people with far less are not grateful for what they are given. If people are giving only for the gratitude showered upon them, I think they may be doing it wrong. (This may be related to my feelings when adults complain that kids aren’t being respectful…)
One of our school-wide gratitude activities is a gratitude tree. Every kid and adult at our school was provided with a leaf on which to write something for which they are grateful. I was impressed by how thoughtfully my students did this. These are a few of their leaves.
Leaves about family were common, which I find beautiful. Leaves about our school surprised me and made my heart happy. All of the things on these leaves (well, except for a grandfather who served in the Air Force) are things for which I am grateful as well.