Remembering Gratitude

posted Nov 14, 2013, 3:14 PM by Nicky Ryan   [ updated Nov 14, 2013, 5:13 PM by Nic Loe ]
"Gratitude is like a flashlight. It lights up what is already there. You don't necessarily have anything more or different, but suddenly you can actually see what it is. And because you can see, you no longer take it for granted." - M.J. Ryan in Attitudes of Gratitude.

This week's assembly was focused on being grateful. Of which I am,...especially for the improved attitude in our students overall towards honesty and making the right choices. There are so many examples around school at the moment that I was spoiled for choice with my assembly certificates! The support from parents with our Home and School initiatives such as our new sandpit and donation from the Fireworks makes me feel especially grateful!

I have added a video from TED talks about gratitude that you might like to watch and share with your children. It is one of those videos that just does...make you feel grateful and it is good for a reflective attitude at this time of the year when everything speeds up and the pressure starts. This TED talk was shared with our teachers to start the year.

Gratitude: Louie Schwartzberg at TEDxSF

Everyone needs to feel appreciated! This is what Edutopia says about gratitude. The article leans towards adults but is so applicable to school:

The Neuroscience Behind Appreciation

Here's the thing: Our brains need to feel gratitude in order for us to want to be at work. Our brains are like Teflon for positive experiences and like Velcro with negative experiences. This means the negative comments, interactions, professional development (PD) workshops, and so on, cling to our brains. But if we spend a few minutes in appreciation, recalling those fulfilling moments in a day or encounters with supportive parents, or the segments in workshops when we felt we were learning, our brains create new links between neurons.

As we strengthen these links and build them day-after-day, our mind finds it easier to travel down those neuron paths and to experience the associated positive emotions. We can help our brain evolve in a positive way and in a way that might help us transform schools.

If we feel more positive, we will want to be at work. We will most likely be more patient with our students and with colleagues. We may speak to each other with more kindness. We might listen to each other more deeply. We might take risks in our teaching or leadership. But we can't do any of these when we're perpetually distressed. Expressing gratitude can allow us to engage in teaching and learning in a more positive, open way.

Elena Aguilar

How can you help with your children's' understanding of what it is to be grateful?
  • Keep a gratitude journal and children can close each day thinking about the things they are grateful for.
  • Write a gratitude letter or email to a friend - how great it is to receive a letter or email telling you what is appreciated about you. It also feels good to put those ideas or thoughts into words and 'say' them to someone else!
  • this is fun photography project for a whole year but even a short time might be something that children might enjoy!
  • Just sharing at the end of the day what did you enjoy about your day and what were you grateful for helps children to define what it is that they can be grateful for and puts a positive feel for the end of the day.
Finally if your kids are firing positive neurons then we all feel happier as parents and as teachers and it helps us to focus on the positive which is healthy for flourishing kids.

Have a super weekend with your family and whanau!

Nga mihi