This week is Thanksgiving in the US.
Whilst this isn’t a festival we celebrate in the UK, it is one which I am very drawn to because I love gratitude. This year I am even more excited about it because my stepson and his girlfriend are studying in the US so they are getting ready for Thanksgiving, with all their International friends who don’t have families to go home to for this holiday either.
Thanksgiving is about gratitude for the harvest and the bounty of the previous year. I’m not quite sure how this ties into the Black Friday consumerism that follows, that seems a little inconsistent.
Gratitude is something I practice daily. I have a very full gratitude jar by this time of year as I write down everything that I am grateful for on a scrap of paper and pop it in a jar on my desk, to remind me when I’m having a tricky day that life is good and I am so blessed.
This is a wonderful idea for classes and teachers too. Lots of schools that I have gone into have adopted this as a class activity. Writing down achievements and things they are grateful for; friendships, getting 10/10 on a spelling test, reading aloud in front of the class, completing your Next Step etc.
Traditionally at Thanksgiving lunch the family and friends go round the table and say one thing that they are grateful for. This, for me, is a beautiful idea and something I would love to do everyday actually.
So today I challenge you to write down 10 things that you are grateful for.
Some days, believe me, I know it can be difficult to see the positives. Between the laundry, the marking, the screaming children, the stroppy teens, the bottom set Y9s and the broken boiler it can be easy to focus on the negatives, but if you can just manage to see the lessons and the up side of all the experiences you have you really will feel better.
Everyone can find 10 things for which they are grateful, everyday, even if you have to go really back to basics; food, water, shelter…
Most importantly, if you do start focusing on the positives in your life, you will feel happier and you will begin to notice the good things in life, more than you notice the less enjoyable things. We are pre-programmed to look for danger and negatives to help us stay safe but as a result it is easy to become a glass half empty person if we don’t try to find the joy everyday.
So here is my list today, in no particular order:
I am grateful for:
- My family; especially my children who are thriving and really flourishing in everything they do at the moment.
- Good friends who are there when I need them and who I love spending time with and supporting.
- My office, a calm and beautiful space to work in.
- The joy of working with schools to create a real difference in the world.
- The teachers I work closely with and who give me such wonderful feedback.
- My imagination which never lets me down when I create new resources.
- Mugs of tea to warm me and comfort me in this cooler weather.
- Exciting opportunities for 2019.
- My bullet journal which makes sure I am organised.
- Fish and chips out of the paper on the way home from the Christmas lights switch on yesterday.
Ok, it’s your turn! Feel free to let me know what your list is in the comments!
If you want to read more about gratitude in the classroom here is an old blog about introducing gratitude at school: