THE “G” IN THANKSGIVING with Ed DeR:
For a variety of reasons, I have been reading about the “power” of engaging in the “habit” of expressing gratitude in what one says and what one does. I thought that this would be an appropriate topic for this month—celebrating Thanksgiving Day.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, writes: “You literally cannot overplay the hand of gratitude; the grateful mind reaps massive benefits in every domain of life that has been examined so far. There are countless ways in which gratitude could pay off in the workplace (and in homes and schools.).”
Studies have shown that people who experience gratitude have more positive emotions (joy, love, happiness) and exhibit fewer negative emotions (bitterness, envy, resentment.) The “gratitude experience” also contributes to feelings of connectedness, relationships, and better physical health.
Amy L. Eva, Ph.D., the associate education director at the Greater Good Science Center, writes that “you can’t teach gratitude practices in a vacuum—especially to teens….Teens tend to respond more positively to lessons and activities that help them understand themselves and connect with peers….”
In her article, “How to Teach Gratitude to Tweens and Teens,” she cites a special curriculum that offers insights for authentically nurturing gratitude in students (Greater Good Science Center’s website). Dr. Eva writes that there are three key ways to teach gratitude to children and youth.
- Exploring identity. Identity development remains the central developmental task for adolescents, and this curriculum helps facilitate that by allowing students to explore their character strengths (e.g., traits like honesty, curiosity, perseverance, humility.)
- Capitalizing on strengths. A gratitude curriculum that builds on strengths is a wonderful counter to focusing on students’ perceived deficits.
- Building positive relationships. Once they know their strengths, students can leverage them to connect more deeply with others and to do good—in school and beyond.
Two of the first researchers to study gratitude among youth were Jeffrey Froh (Hofstra University) and Giacomo Bono (CSU-Dominguez Hills). They have worked with thousands of children and adolescents across the United States. In a recent study they found “that teens who had high levels of gratitude when entering high school had less negative emotions and depression and more positive emotions, life satisfaction, and happiness four years later when they were finishing high school. They also had more hope and a stronger sense of meaning in life.”
Researchers Froh and Bono note that there are some specific practices that teachers can use in their classrooms.
Here are two examples:
One practice is keeping a gratitude journal. “We asked middle school students simply to list five things for which there were grateful daily for two weeks, and we compared these students to others who were writing about hassles in their life or basic daily life events….Most significantly, compared to the other students, gratitude journalers reported more satisfaction with their school experience immediately after the two-week period, a result that held up even three weeks later.”
Another practice is what they call the gratitude visit. In this exercise they had students “write a letter to someone who had helped them but whom they’d never properly thanked; the students read their letter to him or her in person, then later discuss their experience with others who also completed a gratitude visit.”
I found three excellent resources for helping teach and nurture gratitude. The first—check out the ideas described in the “Gratitude Works Program” sponsored by the National Association of School Psychologists (www.nasponline.org). A second excellent resource, offered by The Greater Good Science Center, is “Nurturing Gratitude from the Inside Out: 30 Activities for Grades K-8 “in which the curriculum includes 30 activities for grades K–8. For a third informative and useful resource, visit characterlab.org/gratitude for a 14-page booklet on the “Why & How” and several instructional activities.
I’ll end this blog with a strategy that you, as the teacher, can modify to meet your and your students’ needs and interests. I like sharing quotes with students and others. So let’s call this November activity: “Gratitude Quotes Month.”
Activity: Gratitude Quotes Month
There are four full weeks in the month. Let’s assume that the third week—the week that includes Thanksgiving Day—will be a “no school” week.
- Each week students will discuss three quotes.
- Have them read the quotes and tell a little about the author of each quote.
- Reflect on the quotes—share what the quotes mean with others.
- Rewrite the quotes in their own words—draw them, practice them, write about what happened after they tried them.
- Discussion their experiences in class near the end of each week.
Here are the quotes for the first full week of the month, November 5th – November 9th:
- Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices. – Robert Braathe
- The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. – Henri J.M. Nouwe
- What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. – Brené Brown
Quotes for the week of the November 12th – November 16th:
There’s no such thing as too much gratitude. The more of it you express, the more reasons you’ll be given to express it. – Mike Dooley
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. –William Arthur Ward
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. –Cicero
Thanksgiving Day Assignment, Thursday, November22nd
- Have student make a list of the things they did with family and friends that show or demonstrated the virtues of ‘kindness,” “thankfulness” and “gratitude.”
- Ask them to bring their list to class next week for a discussion.
For the last week of the month, November 26th – November 30th, have students share the results of their Thanksgiving Day assignment and the following two quotes.
At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – President John F. Kennedy
Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, USD
NOVEMBER 2018 BLOG
Love @ Work December 5th from 11:30 to 1:30:
I know some of you could use a bit more love at work so if you are local, here is an invitation to support you and your love for and at work!
I know these folk personally and can vouch for the power of their experience and message and hope to see you there…
WHEN: December 5th, 2018 | 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
9540 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 150
San Diego, CA 92121
Special Discount for Chamber of Purpose members.
Use Registration Code: COPFRIEND
Dear Purposeful Professional,
Does love belong in business? Do you love@work? How does love@work work? With compelling stories and practical tips, this unusual and lively panel session will challenge you to think different about love at work, and inspire you to be love at work. Every day of our lives we can demonstrate our love for so many things, why not at work? In non-profits, traditional businesses, tech companies, creative agencies, and even in prison, love@work is the only virtue that will shift toxic, self-focused cultures with siloed mindsets into highly functioning organizations. In fact, love@work is at the core of the solution to many of our business challenges. In the session you will learn how love@work can help your bottom line, manage conflict more effectively, improve employee engagement and enhance your business overall.
After 20+ years in business solving cancer, access to electricity and education challenges, Mariette founded Brilliance Inside in October’17, after discovering the mechanisms of turning our society’s cycle of violence into one of transformation and healing. She runs 5 programs inside Donovan prison. This unlikely journey for an Ivy League and Berkeley MBA graduate started with organizing a successful TEDxDonovanCorrectional, transforming “societal throwaways” into a high-performance team.
Dr. Moshe Engelberg is a consultant, speaker, and author. He is now inspiring good organizations to bring love back into business for better results. Moshe helps leaders think different and be courageous and on purpose. Moshe founded and leads the boutique strategy firm ResearchWorks to help companies in the health space improve their performance. Clients include Philips Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, AARP, CDC, and others. Moshe earned his doctorate from Stanford University in Communication.
Chef Michael Antonorsi has always had a love for chocolate and over time has been able to share that love worldwide through Chuao Chocolatier.
Michael‘s mission is to share joy with the world through deliciously engaging chocolate experiences. He and his brother opened their first chocolate café in Encinitas, CA., in 2002 and named it Chuao as a nod to the legendary cacao-growing region, reflecting their heritage and commitment to Fair Trade Certified cacao and premium ingredients.
Over time Michael has earned many awards and accolades, one of which was being named a 2016 Top 10 Chocolatier in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine.
Mr. Dixon has extensive experience in varied approaches, tools and activities in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation and Facilitation, including community and corporate facilitation. He provides a wide range of facilitation and conflict management strategies to both non-profit and private sector clients including San Diego Neighborhood Prosecution and Collaborative Courts Unit-Office of the City Attorney.
Would You Be Able To Generate Hope So Young Women Who Have Been Sexually Exploited Can Work Through Their Deep Trauma And Discover A Healthy, Purpose-Filled Life?
My Arbonne Team is dedicated to supporting young women in trauma at Rady Children’s Hospital & hospitalized children and their families at Rady Children’s Hospital this Holiday Season. Generate Hope provides safety, community, and individualized, life-skills support, so young women who have been sexually exploited can work through their deep trauma and discover a healthy, purpose-filled life. Rady Children’s Hospital works extensively with children in high-risk health situations. Their programs and therapies provide children and their families with the highest quality care. Some of these children are currently hospitalized, and will continue to be through the holiday season.
Our hope, in partnership with YOU, is to provide a Freedom Bag to every young woman that enters Generate Hope, and a Holiday Care Gift to every child hospitalized at Rady Children’s Hospital. A donation of ANY amount is gracious, welcomed, and so appreciated! To fully fund a Freedom Bag for Generate Hope the donation is $42 . To fully fund a Holiday Care Gift for Rady Children’s Hospital the donation is $30. Your generosity, care, and fulfillment of this endeavor will send out blessings to hundreds! I thank you for your support!
For DONATION INFORMATION, please contact:
Stacy Jennings – Independent Consultant and District Manager with Arbonne International: firstname.lastname@example.org / Venmo: @StacyJ3
Arbonne is a company with a mission to “transform lives through pure, botanically based ingredients in scientifically tested products; a pure, healthy lifestyle; and the pure joy of helping others.
Thanks this week go to Dr. Ed deR, the Chamber of Purpose and Love @ Work teams and Stacy J
Please pay it forward with purpose and gratitude!
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust