Be grateful for little things
By Business Administrator Craig Carter
Halloween decorations and all the costumes are packed away. (For my friend Dee Rice, that may take several weeks to accomplish.) The leftover candy is sitting in faculty rooms, offices, and breakrooms around the district. Christmas music is playing on satellite radio. Our attention is now turning toward the holidays.
As we approach Thanksgiving, we traditionally turn our thoughts to what we are thankful for. I wonder if people feel more thankful this year or less thankful. The political season seems to bring out more negative feelings than positive ones.
Many of our Davis School District family are and/or have dealt with tragedies and heartache this year. Should they feel thankful? For many of us, life is hard. Consequently, feeling thankful or grateful doesn’t come easy at times.
An op-ed piece published in the NY Times by Arthur C. Brooks addressed this phenomenon. He submits that evidence would support that we can actively choose to practice gratitude and that by so doing, raise our own happiness. He references a 2003 study that randomly assigned one group of participants the task of keeping a weekly list of small little things they were grateful for. Meanwhile, the other group listed the problems, hassles or neutral events during the week.
After 10 weeks, the first group that documented the little positive grateful events, enjoyed significantly greater life-satisfaction feelings versus the group that focused on the negative events. The author referenced several other studies that show a positive impact when one purposely expresses gratitude for the people and daily events in their life.
I think about George Bailey, from the great holiday film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” running down the main street in Bedford Falls after gaining his life back, shouting his gratitude for the simple shops along the street, his old house with the broken banister, his neighbors, and especially his family. Forgotten are the worries about the financial stresses, a life that never met his adventuresome expectations, and a building and loan business that barely eked out a living.
What he realized is his life was richly blessed with family, the love of friends and knowing he made a difference in the lives of those he served.
We make a difference in the lives of our students and Davis School District family. Life isn’t easy and is harder for some than others. We are all blessed to work in the greatest profession and district. We change lives. We can choose to be grateful for the little things that bless our lives every day.
A teacher recently sent an email to the Superintendent expressing gratitude for the ability to control the temperature in her classroom following a recent remodel. Small? Yes. Insignificant? No. It is my hope we all have a wonderful holiday season.