On any given day handfuls of things can go "wrong" and the story we tell ourselves is that all we've done is made mistakes.
How many more times, however, have we done something awesome, helpful, "right", effective, thoughtful, selfless?
What would our day be like if we embraced both opportunities for improvement and also really stopped to notice all the positive things that are happening around us? What are we missing in our lives by not doing this regularly? How often do we recognize what a gift it is that we can see, that we have running water, that we made improvements in our work, that we helped someone out when they most needed it, that we contributed to students learning? How often are we noticing that we work with people who do good work, who offer to help, who believe in kids? If your answers to these questions are mostly “no”s, you have a wonderful opportunity to turn that around!
While gratitude can positively impact someone else, research shows it also improves mental, physical and relational well-being for the person giving the gratitude. This is what Robert Emmons found when he began researching gratitude in 2007. In the Huffington Post article, The Transformative Power of Gratitude, they captured his findings by noting, "Being grateful also impacts overall experience of happiness, and these effects tend to be long-lasting."
At Rocky Mountain Prep, I see daily the positive impact that expressing gratitude has on our community and our culture.
While in our classrooms, I see students thanking teachers for their support wrestling with a challenging text. I see our teachers thanking students for showing vulnerability during a Compass Circle, and students giving their teammates very meaningful appreciations in the middle of circle. In our hallways, I see our teachers thanking families for partnering to support our kiddos, and families thanking teachers for the evening phone call to make sure their child is getting the support they need. All of these - and so much more - contribute to the culture of love we believe so strongly in, for our students, our team, and our families.
So yes, it is the season where thankfulness is in the air. My challenge to all of us is to ensure that expressing gratitude and thankfulness becomes what we do all of the time, both for others and for ourselves.
If you don't have one yet, identify a daily habit to implement to have a positive impact on your brain and to give a teammate, student, parent, friend, or family member. Gratitude journals can be very helpful! If that feels like too much of a commitment try stating something you are grateful for as soon as you wake up OR at the end of the day, name one thing that went well.
I will leave you with a quote from Zig Ziglar that really captures the power of gratitude, "Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for."
With gratitude and for our kids,
Chief Academic Officer