By Rebecca Honig, director of content & curriculum
I was going to write a post about self-regulation. Then about phonics. Then I decided to write about secondary gain. Given the strains we are all facing, there is so much to write about. So much to say.
I spent much of Monday playing each topic out in my head, writing outlines, trying to get it on paper. But no sooner would I come to the meat of the post, then I’d think of a different, more pressing topic that was far more deserving of the spotlight. Virtual workshops. No wait… advocacy… hold on… everyday math!
By Wednesday I had exhausted myself. Nothing was hanging together. And so, I sought advice from my seven-year-old son.
“Miles…” I said sliding in next to him in his tiny bunk bed. “I need your help. I’m going to write a blog post for school leaders and teachers and organizations that help kids and families. What do you think I should write about? What do you think would be really helpful for them to know about right now?”
“That’s easy,” he responded in a tone that implied, I really thought you were better at your job than this. “They need to know to write cards for each other. They are all working really hard. They should write cards saying nice things to each other. And if they are sad or scared or really tired, the cards will help. You should write about that.”
“Ummm, yeah…” I said, nodding slowly first and then vigorously. “That’s actually a great idea. I think I will write about that.” And just like that my mind cleared. What a perfect topic.
Yes, there are a million pressing issues right now. Yes, things are VERY overwhelming. Yes, there is so much important work to be done. But doesn’t that make this THE EXACT RIGHT MOMENT to pause, and say thank you?
“Thank you so much for making people safe. The job you are doing is amazing and you are fighting through it and you can do it. “– Miles, 1st Grade
A Time for Thanks
A lot of research has been done on gratitude and it turns out that practicing gratitude appears to have strong associations with overall happiness and well-being. It can improve health. It can increase optimism. It can boost relationships.
That makes something like writing a thank you note an activity that can actually help us through hard times and challenges.
And being on the receiving end of a “thank you!” feels pretty good too.
Before rushing out of my son’s room to start writing, out of curiosity (and because he really seemed to be on a roll), I pressed a bit further. “What would you say if you were writing a card to teachers and school administrators and family helpers?”
“Well…” he said drawing in a huge breath and giving me time to quickly grab a pen and piece of paper, “I’d write…Thank you so much for making people safe. The job you are doing is amazing and you are fighting through it and you can do it. You are helping kids and families because you are taking care of them. It’s hard to do it with social distancing and hybrid school and virtual school and all the different far away ways we have to be right now. But you ARE doing it. And it is helping everybody. All the families in all the places you live are really lucky to have you.”
Ways to Share the Love
Want to spread the THANK YOU movement? Here are a few resources you can use to share the love.
- ECE Thank You Note Sender. From our amazing partner, Wisconsin DCF. They’ve created a digital form where families can write and deliver a quick thank you note to teachers.
- UNICEF Teacher Thank You Notes. See how kids around the world are thanking their teachers.
- 4 tips from Making Caring Common. Great ideas for expressing gratitude with the families you serve.
Finally, I want to invite anyone reading this to add a word of thanks to each other in the comment box below. I know you haven’t met, but you all have something MAJOR in common. You are all working to help kids, families and communities learn, grow and thrive.
And, in the words of my son, you are all doing an AMAZING job.