Gratitude: The Game Changer

Yesterday, I spent time in a cozy, classroom community. Through smooth jazz, soft lighting, and refreshments, the teacher created a “coffee house” experience where he shared his writing and where students would share theirs. And all I could think was, “This feels like home.” I felt grateful to be a part of it which brought me peace and joy.

Brene Brown will tell you, “There’s no joy without gratitude.”

I’ve seen a quote that says something about how our best days occur when we keep “our gratitude higher than our expectations.”

Notice, it doesn’t say have no expectations. Or don’t have high expectations of others or don’t have even higher expectations of yourself. Merely, keep your gratitude HIGHER.

Gratitude has to be cultivated. It requires us to look inside at what we’re feeling, thinking and why, and find the bright spots. For example, “Wow, this was a very challenging meeting, but nothing worthwhile comes easy, and I’m grateful to work with people who care and speak openly and honestly.”

Suddenly, an intense meeting is something for which we can be grateful. I’m not saying we have to love the hard times or accept bad behavior but rather, train our minds to see the good.

Imagine how a school culture could be transformed by this notion. Imagine how joyful school could be if we cultivated gratitude. What if we were thankful when teachers, students, or parents, gave us difficult feedback? What if we were thankful for the opportunity to grow and improve? What if we were thankful for the opportunity to take a risk even when something didn’t go well?

There’s a chance that gratitude is the way home. Perhaps, showing up, being in the moment with people, choosing to see the good, and expressing gratitude, is the path to creating a more joyful school and workplace.

When we open our doors every day, would those who enter say it’s a place of joyful exuberance?

I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect upon that. 🙂