Beacon of gratitude

Several months ago, Chris and I were in discussion about a gratitude chat to highlight the good we spread, cultivate, and relish around us. A time to reflect upon the topic of gratitude in the form of a twitter chat. Something I really glean information from is twitter chats.

Therefore, #gratefuledu was born and is a bi-monthly chat that highlights gratitude through the good, the tough, and how we can still see gratitude in the midst of any point in our lives. Something that blesses me is the power of this chat and how I am encouraged by others every other week. It’s real talk, building up others as we go, reflecting on our current practices, and is something that I hope to continue.

Something that hits home is kindness through gratitude. It doesn’t have to be much. Just a simple gesture or kind word can make someone’s day. When you are intentional with your actions and words, people notice. It can be a simple gesture or a little thing to you that can make someone’s day better. The beacon of gratitude shines.

Kindness matters. A smile, a laugh, holding a door for someone whose hands are full, a bottle of water, a piece of chocolate, and simple words of encouragement all go a long way

People notice the gratitude and kindness when you make an effort. You can make someone’s day by your one action. That’s pretty powerful.

This past Sunday, many of the members that joined the #gratefuledu chat really touched by heart and made me smile as we shared ways to refill the gratitude cup. Y’all, May is tough for so many. With deadlines, paperwork, spring fever brewing, and more, it’s a good time to reflect on the beacon of gratitude. Gratitude, in itself, is the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is a CHOICE and we CHOOSE to show appreciation for all. It’s something that can make the world go around and can make the stress of everything diminish.

No act of kindess, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

For me, random acts of kindness through gratitude is my jam. Noticing what others do and appreciating what they give forth matters. Having someone’s day change by one handwritten note or kind comment matters. Putting forth intention to make someone’s day matters. Giving someone a pat on the back and spreading gratitude through kindness matters.

Whatever your gift may be in gratitude, I challenge you to be a beacon of gratitude and go forth to spread kindness through intentional acts to support one another each and every day. Your one act matters!

Gratitude
Photo used with permission by Akilah Ellison

 

 

 

 

Savor the calm

Calm: a state of being or action that one can feel, see, or act upon.

Yesterday, I took a drive to Texas Tulips after an appointment & was taken back by the calm of the field of tulips. The colors, the smells, and the sights. It was a gloomy day and on the cooler side but the flowers were radiant and really made it worth the drive.

The fields of tulips struck a cord with me as I attempted to not slip in the mud. A simple field of flowers can brighten my day. It can make me stop and appreciate the good around us.

Savoring the calm is a choice. A choice I take every day. Life gets crazy, don’t get me wrong, and deadlines and stress can creep in. At first, it can be okay and then you’re overwhelmed quickly. It’s a vicious cycle.

However, savoring the calm is a necessity of life. It’s a way to step back and relish the good around us. The good that keeps you sane. The good you look forward to. The good that surrounds you day in and out. The good that is around us all if we just stop and savor the calm.

Savoring the calm and be more than tulips or flowers for others. However, it’s a necessity of life. If we don’t slow down and savor what’s around us, we will miss it. Something we can help our students and colleagues around us notice. It’s as simple as a conversation. There’s good all around us. Have you stopped to savor the calm lately?

A grateful heart

Every so often, I tell people I am a special educator and get the response “it takes a special person to do that.” Other times, I tell people I am a teacher and get the response “oh you’re stronger than me.” Sometimes these responses bring good feelings and other times, I wonder, what else is posed on teachers when others find out their profession.

There’s a simple truth, though, to my teaching and answering my calling and that is with a grateful heart. A grateful heart to teach, to watch students be successful, to see students struggle and succeed, and to keep coming back. My profession as a Social Emotional Teacher has stretched me thin this semester. I never realized how much students dealt with until I started working with students with trauma filled lives and struggles. For my first six weeks of this year, I responded to calls for assistance and, in turn, found out that trauma has so many facets. Primarily, trauma does not discriminate nor is it just in special education. It is real and lives and breathes within so many students. It’s present every day and students react in many different ways.

Trauma does not discriminate. It happens everywhere—across all races, religions, socioeconomic levels, and family systems.

This school year has defined my grateful heart even more than years past. I have the opportunity to show up to a population of students that needs a constant. A population of students that uses my experience and knowledge for power and support. This is not me tooting my own horn; it’s owning what I can give every single day. Whether it’s responding to screams or elopement or being under a table with a student, my grateful heart of supporting students grows.

While I spend most of my days in a self contained unit working with extreme emotional and behavioral needs, I still consider it a gift to help others who need support as I am able. Being able to empower teachers and students daily is a calling that has solidified over the past two years. It’s not just the students that need support; it’s the teachers and staff working with students daily who need support too.

There are so many needs in the classroom setting and while, I can only do so much, I lead with a grateful and willing heart to support others. Whether it’s a teacher at their wits end or needing some new ideas or a student in crisis, my hope is to respond with a grateful and willing heart every single time.

A matter of hours

Gratitude & Appreciation

Appreciation

Gratitude, something that is not always voiced or given. However, shown or intended to be bestowed upon each day. The day to day impact and wisdom shared is coveted and appreciated by so many. The random acts of kindness and little encouraging notes mean so much too.

Gratitude and appreciation look so different based on the culture of the schools and who the team players are. However, there are still similarities in all settings. There is hard work appreciated, kindness throughout, difficult decisions made. and impact made each day. There are students making our day, laughter to deal with difficult days, and decisions coming down that impact the students and staff each and every day.

Something I realized as an early teacher (and before) was you must give gratitude and appreciation specifically to others. It can be a simple note or email or text (nowadays) but, as educators, we must acknowledge what we see, note who has gone above and beyond, and recognize each other. It’s not about the number of notes; it’s about the recognition and value of others. Every person deserves to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. It must be specific, real, and to the point.

So many times, however, we all get busy and the recognition and appreciation gets put on the back burner. It’s not intentional, it’s life! However, as people who know what it’s like to be appreciated, I am asking for the intentional recognition to be a priority when something good occurs. It doesn’t have to be long, it just has to be specific to the person. The specific gratitude will, in turn, bring out appreciation each time.

Intentional recognition not only builds the culture around us. It gives meaning and purpose to those around us too. It is intentional, specific, and purposeful to show gratitude. In a field of juggling so much and making decisions that impact and change paths often, gratitude and appreciation must be an intentional priority to celebrate the good, appreciate those around us, and to move forward as a cohesive unit. A unit who knows others realize the good they bring to the table and the impact they see too.

Gratitude & Appreciation: an intentional priority for cultivating the culture around us! See it, acknowledge it, recognize it, and celebrate the good it brings each day. 

Pour out joyful gratitude

Last week, I participated in the #Kidsdeserveit twitter chat & something that was brought up sparked an interest and had me thinking for the rest of the week. The question was posed and so many great responses were given.

How can we show gratitude all year long in meaningful and lasting ways? More than “tell them” or “write them notes”. Think deep!

Think about it. It’s not just about students. It’s about each person we encounter each and every day. Whether it is students, family, or anyone in proximity. It’s the people we smile at, say hello to, and are surrounded by each and every day.  So the question remains, how can we show gratitude each and every day in a meaningful way? 

It’s not hard…you SHOW others your appreciation by doing. You give back, you participate in random acts of kindness, you make their day, and you show kindness. Kindness goes beyond just the simple hello; kindness digs deeper. It allows you to make a connection with the other party. It’s the act of time that makes the world of difference.

The act of time and showing others how grateful you are for them day in & out goes above and beyond telling them. You act, curate a bond, show kindness, & build someone up with gratitude. Don’t overthink it! Get to know the people you are surrounded by each and every day. Take a moment to ask about their interests and their families. Notice what makes each person unique.

Act through joyful gratitude for the person! It will mean the world to someone each and every day. No act is too small or too great; it’s the act of gratitude that means the world to each person. Fill the world with joyful gratitude towards others each & every day.

Color the world with joyful gratitude through actions

 

Kindness: pass it on!

Be Kind whenever possible

Did you know today is World Kindness day? I recently learned about it and was really intrigued by the concept for two reasons. Reason one is the the idea of adding it to the calendar. A day in the whole year to celebrate kindness. However, it’s only a day. Shouldn’t we, as people, celebrate kindness as much as possible? Shouldn’t there be a wave and a desire to be kind daily?

I digress, kindness is a simple act. A smile, a conversation asking about another family, holding the door for someone, striking up conversation, giving a compliment, and the list continues. Kindness can be a grand gesture to one or the world to another. Kindness doesn’t take time; kindness takes heart!

Reason two is the fact that we as educators must model kindness day in and out for those watching our every move, comment, and heart. In my classroom or around school, I even find my students repeating what I’ve said to each other and in the tone or time I say it in. Bottom line is the fact that our students are watching each and every move that we make.  Take it as an opportunity to instill kindness into their hearts each and every day. Show love, show kindness, and take the time to give kindness day in and out.

Be kind & pass it on!

A grateful heart

Something to live for, to seek, and to strive for…a grateful heart. Something you don’t always show (I’ll admit it first) but crave when you see someone give to another. It’s something to live for.

Random acts of kindness, checking in on a colleague or family member, or showing gratitude towards others shows a grateful heart. Being surrounded by a supportive and caring staff, who you call family, and seeing the love they share for you makes my heart grateful.

Coming off of the massive Harvey devastation as well as the heartache so many have felt during a devastating time moves toward a grateful heart. Seeing the kindness surround so many during the difficult and horrifying time provides a grateful heart. The kindness and sincerity so many have shown and continue to show is amazing.

Whatever you choose to drive your grateful heart is independent. However, I challenge you to stop and remember that gratitude, and your grateful heart, are innate and ever growing. It’s a combination of what you’ve done, have received, and strive for.

JFK grateful

Celebrate gratitude daily. Lead and live with a grateful heart!