Right now at my school January is Kindness Month. We are participating in the Great Kindness Challenge, which is a national endeavor the 3rd week of January. I work in a school for deaf and hard of hearing students, and we really want to emphasize this message, so we decided to make kindness the focus for the whole month. We’re doing daily and weekly activities throughout promoting kind acts toward each other. It’s been a lot of fun. I, along with helpful members of our Sunshine Committee made an awesome bulletin board promoting kindness at home, on the bus, inside and outside of school. We made gift-wrapped kindness boxes for each classroom filled with ideas of kind acts to complete daily, promoting an awareness of how we impact and treat each other. Students have been writing and drawing pictures for various staff and students, cleaning up the school yard, handing out stickers, complimenting each other and of course using their manners. Students also have been writing postcards to each other with little positive phrases and drawings. Awesome. We had a Hot Cocoa party on Friday, which was my personal fave to date. We (a few of the high school girls and I) read a story about sharing, and then we ate homemade snacks with our hot cocoa and marshmallows (or Fluff, which is the absolute best way to go back in time…as are snowsuits and mittens with a string trying them together so you don’t lose them). It was lovely to see every student on his or her best behavior, saying please and thank you, expressing gratitude for having such a nice little gathering of friends at the end of the week. Kindness Month is a school-wide effort and it’s been fantastic so far. I’ve been impressed seeing all the students getting into the effort: from the preschool all the way to the high school. We still have two plus weeks left and more to do – art projects, kindness games, staff appreciating the work of other staff. It’s put me in a pretty good mood I must say. I hope we can extend it for another month or two or twelve…
All of this leads me to thoughts of expressing gratitude in my own life and trying to bring some of that kind attitude to other areas, such as the car. Remembering my word of the year is patience, which applies not only to my training, but to driving on the road with other people. Not everyone out there is conspiring to make me late…or are they???
Speaking of training, I hit all 12 of my workouts this week (A+) – much better than my 75% (solid C) – last week. I even met up with my running group on Saturday for a lovely 4 mile jaunt around a local reservoir. It was 19*, but the sun was bright and there was a hot coffee and pumpkin spice muffin waiting for me at the end. I had never run at this location before, even though I drive by every single work day. I will be back for sure. There’s something so peaceful about running by a frozen lake in the winter. Getting outside for some fresh air and exercise plus a lovely breakfast with my running buddies is definitely hygge.
I am grateful for my job. Most of the time I complain about it, as do most employees, right? It’s not easy to work with teenagers day in and day out for 14 years. I mean parents get a break because their kids go through their teens in less than a decade. I’ve been stuck in adolescence angst for a good time longer than that. My gratitude attitude is that I can leave all those kids at the school house door. When I get home my dogs are always happy to see me and rarely bring me any drama. They don’t need the newest iPhone or have any problems on Snap Chat, and for that I am forever grateful. I wish I could say the same about my small flock of chickens, but those ladies are full of drama. They’re crabby when it’s cold, and when it’s hot, and when there’s a new girl, or if they don’t get to sit next to their fave on the roosting bar…but I put up with all of that because they give me delicious eggs. (And they don’t live in my house.)
I’m always grateful for Cobra Strike even though I don’t say it enough. I came home on Friday afternoon to homemade Beef Wellington in the oven. What!? Yes. That is just one of the thousands of sweet things that man does for me on the regular. He’s the best.
I’m also grateful for my family. My parents who do too much for very little recognition. In that circumstance it is easy to be taken for granted. I want them to know that they’re appreciated and loved. Parents, children, siblings…we’re supposed to drive each other crazy sometimes, right? It happens sometimes despite our best intentions. This week I was reminded of what it was like to be a kid – drinking hot cocoa my mom made me with a big dollop of Fluff – after coming in from playing in the snow. That is a happy memory for me, one that I enjoyed reliving while sitting on the floor drinking that steaming cup of chocolate and Fluff with my students on a Friday afternoon.
Not too long ago my mom gave me my grandmother’s gratitude journal. It is filled with so many regular, everyday observations, and here is one I find particularly fitting for this post:
At this sitting It’s unlikely I can pinpoint episodes that created specific gratitude in me. On the contrary, I feel a bit Pollyannish as I wrap my self in a “cloak” of contentment with where I am in my journey.
Me too, Gram. Me too.