Gratitude is cultivated through sharing appreciation and giving back to society. From experience working in the area of education, it is imperative that sight is not lost of our purpose and intentions, despite the unrelenting distraction of policy and procedure. Of course, this could also be said for most business entities. Why do we do what we do? Have we lost sight of our purpose, or are we nourishing ourselves with joy and fulfilment through giving back and achieving success? Whichever way we measure such a diversely defined state of success will determine our ability to express gratitude. In some respects, this sounds very complicated; however, in reality can be quite simple. Kindness is free. And showing it to others has profound benefits for those receiving and giving.
Being kind, especially in the face of hardship or adversity, can be difficult. It takes strength of character to continue to give attention and warmth towards those who may express aversion towards acts of kindness. Children (and adults for that matter), who challenge those who show them kindness, are usually the children who need the most compassion. They are the underdogs, the struggling, the confused, the ones who do not feel worthy. They may be suffering in silence or have been failed by those around them. Questions around motivation or expectations fly around in their minds and they may question the sincerity of one’s actions. Children are impressionable from such an early age. Those working with children have an opportunity to build the self-esteem and confidence of a child, or break it.
What we say to others must be sincere and intentional, but more importantly the way we act and model behaviours is critical for our future generation to continue to cultivate gratitude and appreciation to all with no strings attached. Gratitude and kindness are not earned. Everyone has a right to experience the kindness of others and when they feel grateful enough, they may have the tools and inclination to pay it forward. This is the hope for the future and we can get there together if we start with ourselves.
As featured in: Brave Magazine - Oct/Nov 2020.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.