School-Aged Children Get Into the Act of Gratitude

As a wonderful contrast to all of the recent stories about school bullying and children in crisis, it was wonderful to see how the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) designated November 8–12, 2010, as National School Psychology Awareness Week.

More impressive is the exercise they use to “strengthen positive relationships and increasing positive experiences.” It is called Gratitude Works and it encourages students to write letters of gratitude to someone who has made a difference in their lives or the lives of others. The intention is to “reinforce students’ practice of gratitude as one of many pro-social behaviors that can foster individual resilience and well-being and contribute to overall positive school climate.”

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to three graduate management classes at Hofstra University about my yearlong journey of expressing gratitude. I was pleased to receive dozens of emails following those lectures from the students who had done their “homework” almost immediately. They had contacted someone who was a significant life influencer and told him or her specifically how they had affected their life. Every message I received was filled with enormous positive energy, peace of mind and pride in having created even deeper relationships.

Expressing profound gratitude can never start too early. Even school-aged children can think of at least one person who has impacted their life. There are several good reasons to start expressing your appreciation to these people now. The sooner you tell them how you feel, the longer they will be able have to take pleasure in the message. They’ll probably be inspired to help others; in fact, the ripples may very well be felt far and wide, and all because you made these individuals aware of how important they are to you.

Also, keep in mind that expressing your gratitude will likely enhance and enrich your relationships with these wonderful human beings and by starting young, you’ll have more time to enjoy them.

Another consideration is that it’s often easier for young people to speak openly and express heartfelt feelings. Plus, the earlier you do so, the more likely it is that you’ll get better at it, and the effort will become habitual. It’s like exercising an undeveloped muscle.

So what is stopping you? School-age children are doing it. College students are doing it…Why not you – why not now?

To read the full article about the National School Psychology Awareness Week, click here. http://www.columbuslocalnews.com/articles/2010/11/08/news_from_readers/doc4cd6c6c448c62562727008.txt

Comments are closed.