Last year I attempted to make it a weekly practice in my form class to be grateful.
We ended up engaging in Thankful Thursday. It was successful to some extent. At the very least it reduced the amount of complaining the group of 14-15 year olds did. All of the class members had a journal to write in and most Thursdays we remembered to do it. To begin with a number of the students struggled to write anything down, some weeks we’d watch a clip from World Vision, or Compassion to help remind them of what they had compared to others. At the end of the year it was almost a habit, they seemed to enjoy Thankful Thursday and I think they quite enjoyed the alliteration as well…maybe that was just me.
This morning, I went to the shops and joined the queue of parents buying school supplies. I reached the checkout I placed the items I was going to purchase, plus the 20+ journals for my form class this year, on the counter.
The teenager working at the checkout was a little taken aback at the number of journals.
“I’m a teacher,” I explained. I’d like to think I said it in the way a doctor would say “It’s okay I’m a doctor” as he/she’s about to do an emergency tracheotomy in a restaurant … maybe that only happens in movies.
“Oh,” the perplexed look on his face was replaced by one of relief, “I thought it was a lot of journals!”
“They are for something I’m going to do with one of my classes this year.”
“Oh, so are you a primary or high school teacher?”
“Oh, so which grades?”
“Oh, so all of them…! Is this your first year?”
Let’s pause right here, the rest of the conversation isn’t important here and now … me … in my first year of teaching! I’m not sure if it was my youthful good looks, or the fact that I was smiling about heading back to school that made him reach this conclusion.
I said “Umm, no, my first year was 2001.” I’m assuming based on the shocked look on his face that 2001 was before he was born.
So the journals are going to be thankful journals for my form class. And this here, might just be my first entry – being mistaken for a first year teacher!
Seriously though, gratitude is something I, personally, need to be better at.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to improve health, reduce depression(some good points in this infographic), increase happiness … another side effect might be that I should be more of a pleasure to be around.
Ann Voskamp has written about gratitude in “One Thousand Gifts”.
The word of God tells us:
in every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.