I am blessed with not only the opportunity to write for this blog, but also as a secretary for the Air Conditioning Shop in the Brewster Building. I am blessed to work with a group of men devoted to creating an environment of comfort and ease for the students and faculty. As I answer the phone I find that no one is calling to say, “Thank you, my room temperature is very comfortable.” Instead they contact the shop solely to describe their concerns. Yet the operators receive these complaints with a smile and spend hours trying to make sure that the area is comfortable and that their hard work goes further unnoticed by those they work so hard to serve.
Each day, as I walk into any given campus building, there are a few things I am sure to find: working lights, clean spaces, proper learning equipment, and comfortable temperatures. It never occurred to me that these comforts not only take an immense amount of work to create but that they go entirely unappreciated. This is not to say that those on campus are ungrateful, because that is far from true, but instead to show that there are those who need our gratitude.
As a teacher, we will spend time working individually with each student regarding one problem or another. As the student struggles, it may be easy to get frustrated. But I believe that the antidote to this frustration is gratitude. Be thankful that the student is willing to learn and try, and be grateful for the small steps toward mastery. Students will not become scholars in a day, but as we open our hearts and show gratitude for the small steps, they will follow suit and grow.
This past week I have been blessed to watch my older sister, a model parent, struggle to teach her son about gratitude. Upon receiving a snack or other object, she prompts him to say thank you. I have watched as his willingness to be grateful grow and his joy in doing so has increased. Gratitude creates joy. I ask you to be grateful for the temperature in each classroom you enter, or to notice that someone swept the floor while you were gone for the night, and to see that your students are making those small steps that will make them competent learners. These things happen every day, and as we notice and observe the small and simple acts of those around us, our lives will be changed for good and we will be fulfilled.