The December value of the month at MA is “Gratitude.” It was intentionally made for December so we would honor that gratefulness lives beyond Thanksgiving. Just before Christmas, I shared with students just a small glimpse of how gratitude changes our brain chemistry and makes us happy. I talked about the science but also practical ways that we could share our gratitude in the world. I love the thought that just by articulating our gratitude, we can be happier and healthier people.
Over break, on a cold but beautiful walk in the woods, I listened to the On Being episode with Brother David Steindl-Rast on the Anatomy of Gratitude. I was deeply moved by his thoughts on the way that the world is truly interconnected and how we must offer our gratitude for all of the ways that creation binds us to one another. This led to watching his amazing and popular TED talk. And then, a deeper dive into the Science of Gratitude. Talk about nerding out on information about gratitude!
“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
― David Steindl-Rast
In my hope of building a lifestyle of happiness in 2018, I’ve chosen GRATITUDE as my focus word. I hope that by offering both silent and public gratefulness for all the people, places, and things around me that I will return joy outward to the world.
Here are just a few things I’m grateful for in closing of 2017:
- The gift of family. Our nutty bunch added a new member to the tribe this year with the birth of Clara. It was great to spend Christmas eve with the whole crew.
- Team SSJ. We work so well together and provide a good balance of affirmation and encouragement as well as constructive feedback.
- My cross-country team. Those wackadoodles made me laugh, cry, and push harder to be a better coach this past fall.
- Sharing the first of many 40th birthdays in the year ahead for the class of 1996. It was a gift to be with my college besties to celebrate. I can’t wait until July to celebrate mine and welcome in a new decade!
- Books. So many good reads in the last year, here are some faves:
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- Hallelujah, Anyway by Anne Lamott
- The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Moving the Rock by Grant Lichtman
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Monson (Totally worth the gratuitous cursing.)
- Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron
- Dogs. Atticus and Toby drive me nuts on a regular basis but they really do give me such great love and joy.
- And, perhaps most important, falling in love again. It might seem mushy or inappropriate to put here on my teacher blog, but I am so truly grateful for the way my teaching and learning network has walked me through grief and now right into new love.
May your 2018 bring you abundant sources of gratitude.