I could ask a popular question during this time of year, “What are you thankful for?” If you ask me this I would talk about health, family, having enough, surviving COVID-19 so far etc.
But I really want to say outside, smiles and Disney+, but those are not really socially acceptable things to be thankful for. You may ask why am I thankful for those things.
Outside - in the virtual world of working even though I live in a large capital city I have a backyard and when I needed a break I was able to take myself into the backyard and just enjoy the grass and flowers I have managed to grow in the tiny space, just for a few minutes. Smiles - my New Year's resolution this year (of all years) was if I was to post anything on the internet, it was something that had made me smile. So my friends have heard about all sorts of little things like the joys of an afternoon nap, nursery rhyme karaoke or discussions about dinosaurs in Pre-K, just things that have made me smile. Disney+ started at just the right time for my family, mid March we all had the high temperature and felt awful and as we recovered Disney + was able to take us to well known lands of imagination that counteracted all the negative news that was on the TV at that point. My thankfuls have been small things, but they are ones that have been important for my well-being in so many little but quite substantial ways.
In a world that has turned the lives of us and our students completely on their heads, the small things that they are thankful for might seem insignificant but for them may be the world. A student might say they are thankful for bubblegum, when you actually delve deeper, it might be that when they go to Grandma’s they get to chew gum as a treat and they haven’t been able to see Grandma for a while. For our students, the most important things might be the smallest things, but aren’t the most socially acceptable answers to the question” what are they thankful for?” However these might be significant things for their well-being and mental health.
For the well-being of your students it’s OK for them to be thankful for things that are not what you expect, they will generally have a reason why they are thankful, take the time to be curious, you are likely to be surprised.
So my smile for the day (that I am thankful for) is that as I was leaving school tonight - two young students were passing by with their family on the other side of the street. The student’s sheer delight and excitement at seeing a teacher not in school was fabulous!