At the start of a new year we generally have such a long list of things we would like to change, get rid of, or achieve, that there is little wonder we can’t successfully follow through with our resolutions.
As we approach the remaining days of January, I wonder how many resolutions have already been pushed aside and forgotten? A few years ago I ditched the idea of resolutions and instead put my focus into being grateful for what I already have. I started a Gratitude Jar, where I deposited small notes of things I was grateful for throughout the year. At the end of the year I opened the jar and read all the things I had written and noticed that most of my entries were not huge achievements or events. In fact, they were the small, daily things that so many of us take for granted. A kind word or deed from a friend or even a stranger, an awesome school assembly, a success for one of my children, a good night’s sleep and, even at times, gratitude that although life may not be perfect, it’s perfectly imperfect.
After personally going through a year of this gratitude practice, I shared the joy the experience had brought me with my CGS friends. We decided to start the same practice here at the school. We are now entering Year 4 of our CGS Gratitude Jar. We have all learned so much from it. We quickly found that the best way to bring good into our lives was to be grateful for the good we already had. We also discovered that good things happen every single day. Yes, EVERY day! We realized that although every day isn’t necessarily a great day, there are great things to be found in every day. We quickly understood and embraced the concept “We find what we look for!”
Practicing gratitude means different things to different people. To some it is pausing to notice everything we have. To others, it is cherishing every waking moment and recognizing the preciousness of life. Some people see gratitude as finding peace in what we have and indeed in what we don’t have. Many feel that gratitude is the best way for us to find love and happiness. Whatever form gratitude may take, there is no doubt that practicing gratitude brings joy, satisfaction and wellness to our lives, unlike anything else we may do.
Recently, I had the extreme pleasure of opening and reading all 85 entries that were made in the 2017 CGS Gratitude Jar. I would love to share every single one with you but obviously that isn’t possible, but I will tell you, that entries came from students of all grade levels, including our youngest Early Start students and from staff. They were grateful for a wide variety of things including family, good health, our safe, peaceful and caring country and, believe it or not, Michael Jackson! Of course there was a focus on the school experience with gratitude for the refurbished playground, gym, music and art classes, creative teachers (in fact, the best in the ‘hole’ world!), clubs and carefully planned special activities. The experience of helping those less fortunate, through our community outreach activities and Principal’s Club, clearly also had an impact on those students who were grateful for food, clean drinking water, a warm home and education. Parents, friends, Mommy’s cake, Terry Fox, sports and spring sunshine… the thanks just went on and on!
A number of entries have already been placed in the 2018 jar. We are off to a great start. The Jar is always available in the school office and I invite and encourage all of you to take a moment to pause, give thanks and make an entry. It is good for all of us to give and receive gratitude. Grateful people are more positive and more motivated to do better in this world. Remember, you can’t be grateful and unhappy at the same time!