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Thanksgiving Message: November 22, 2021

As winter approaches, shorter days can be challenging.  Days that are heavy on darkness and short on sunlight are difficult for those of us who enjoy being outdoors.  However, the early sunsets this time of year are simply magnificent.  

Each year when the leaves and season changes, it’s good to lean into Thanksgiving as a time to seek gratitude.  As adults, it’s important to remind ourselves to be grateful, and it’s equally important to model this for children as we help them develop their own heart of gratitude. 

A recent parenting study from Harvard’s Making Caring Common project discusses ways to help children develop their own sense of gratitude. Sometimes we forget that habits take intentional practice.  By expressing gratitude, we can develop and encourage habits.  Often, it’s more than just a simple ‘thank you.’  The study identifies four key steps for helping kids learn to notice and think about gratitude.  The same advice is helpful for adults:

  1. 1.  Practice looking:  On a daily basis, identify a person or a particular thing you are grateful for.

  1. 2.  Think about the reason:  Why are you grateful?  What action or quality makes you grateful?

  1. 3.  Share your gratitude:  Spend time each day reflecting and sharing your gratitude with others.

  1. 4.  Make it a habit:  Make routine moments a time to think about gratitude.  Write it down and put it up on a wall or display area. 


As we focus on a sense of belonging this school year, remember to spread gratitude to those you interact with regularly.  It’s in these moments that connections will occur, and relationships will strengthen among staff, students, and families.

Some say that by watching a sunset, one is provided a better sense of gratitude
 and reflection.  Similarly, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on 
the good and remain hopeful for what is yet to come.  

In Service and Support,

Dr. John Polm