I wanted to share my comments from our Thanksgiving Convocation. Though Thanksgiving Day itself may have passed, the spirit of gratitude will hopefully continue throughout the year.
Thanksgiving Convocation 2013
Welcome to our Thanksgiving Convocation! Gathering as a school community with our Grandparents and special friends is one of our favorite times of year! We share, we celebrate and we express gratitude for all we are thankful for in our lives!
Gratitude can be tricky – I think we are all grateful for many people, places, possessions and experiences in our lives. However, we tend to dwell on what is not working, what could improve and/or what we are not happy with in any given moment. The good news is that we are problem-solvers…and always want to make circumstances better. However, spending time on solutions and, at the same time, being grateful for the good will probably serve us better in the long run!
In addition, gratitude involves looking at circumstances through more than one lens, or as Chimamanda Adichie cautions, the danger of a single story. There is always another side to a story – and looking at the multiple perspectives increases our capacity for gratitude and appreciation.
Some of you will remember a story I told several years ago about a young woman who sat down at an airport near the gate for her flight. After getting settled, she reached for her newly bought bag of cookies and was enjoying the deliciousness of a chocolate chip cookie when the stranger next to her reached into her bag and took a cookie. The stranger smiled, showing no discomfort whatsoever! The woman was astonished, but did not say anything as she continued on with a second cookie. To her amazement, the stranger reached in again, took and ate a second one of her cookies! By now, the woman could not take any more and gathered her items and walked off in a bit of a huff.
As she boarded the plan and situated her belongings at her seat, she suddenly felt something she did not expect…in her carry-on she found a full bag of fresh cookies! She had been eating the stranger’s cookies as her own bag had unknowingly slipped down in her luggage – and the stranger had been the tolerant one all along! The woman’s perspective changed from annoyance and astonishment to embarrassment and gratitude as she realized the stranger’s compassion and understanding of her own seemingly rude behavior!
How often have we all jumped to conclusions too quickly – or made assumptions or judgments on a situation without knowing all the facts. So easy to do! This week of Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to slow down and enjoy each moment through a fresh, forgiving and grateful lens!
I hope each one of you has a peaceful, happy and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday! And, I hope your lives are full of gratitude, appreciation, solutions – and chocolate chip cookies!