Last year at this time my Principal’s Message went, in part, something like this….
“At the start of a new year we generally have such a long list of things we would like to change, improve, get rid of, or achieve, there is little wonder that we can’t successfully follow through with our resolutions. I have a suggestion for something a little different we should all consider this year. How about simply being grateful for what we already have?… Leading up to New Year’s Eve, I read about the concept of a Gratitude Jar. Beginning on January 1st you write a small note every time something good happens to you during the year and place the note in the jar. At the end of the year, you open the jar and read, and then celebrate all the good things that have happened during the year. I loved the idea and thought I would give it a try. I found a beautiful piggy bank that I had tucked away at home and have set it up to receive my gratitude. I am going to consciously try to find at least one good thing that happened every single day throughout the year and add these things to my Gratitude Bank.”
This was a very popular Principal’s Message and I received a lot of feedback on it, many families telling me that they loved the suggestion and would be setting up a Gratitude Bank or Jar of their own. I was very pleased and have been wondering how it went for everyone who embarked on this Gratitude journey with me. In the dawn of a new year, I thought I should report back and let you know how I did. It has been so busy around home and school that I didn’t have a chance to open the bank until this week. I am pleased to report that although I didn’t completely meet my goal of adding something to my bank every single day of the year, I did have 170 lovely pieces of paper to remove from the bank, unfold and read. I managed to write something every day in January and February but as most resolutions, it was a little trickier to maintain as the year went on but I must admit that I finished with a bang with another group of daily notes in December. Statistically, I was pretty close to adding to my bank every second day of this past year, so I was proud of myself.
When I re-read all the things I had been grateful for I noticed that most were not huge achievements or events. 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 is perfectly imperfect.
This year long exercise was a more tangible way for me to live a life of gratitude and celebrate all the goodness in my life. I consider it a big success. Being aware that good things happen in our lives every single day is such an important part of acknowledging just how blessed we are. Knowing that the best way to bring good into your life is to be grateful for the good you already have, is enough incentive for me to keep this thing going. After speaking to a CGS colleague we thought having a Gratitude Jar here at school would be such a nice thing for everyone, staff, students and parents alike. Thanks to a generous parent, who brought an amazing jar full of biscotti for the staff to enjoy pre-holidays, we have the perfect vessel to receive our combined notes of gratitude. It will be available to receive notes on a daily basis in the school office and will also be brought downstairs for all to add to on Assembly days. Living a life of gratitude is good for everyone. Being grateful for what you have and what you get out of life, paves the way to an unconditional acceptance of other people, which in turn creates harmony in life. What more could we ask for our school community? I hope that you will all participate at one point or another during this new calendar year. We all have a brand new year ahead of us, unspoiled and fresh and it was given to us freely. What a great place to start being grateful.
Principal and Co-Founder
Children’s Garden School