This week, students are exploring gratitude in their social emotional learning activities. In choosing to express gratitude, students build on and support the Core SEL Competencies as described from CASEL. Expressing gratitude requires students to be aware of their emotions and demonstrate regulation of their actions and/or feelings. This creates a rewarding emotional experience. Expressing gratitude in various forms will also foster and support healthy relationships and strengthen their relationship skills.
One way the act of expressing gratitude is taught and practiced at ASA is through our Bucket Fillers program. ASA students are wonderful bucket fillers. They consistently fill each others’ buckets by being friendly, expressing gratitude, showing compassion and complimenting others on their gifts, talents and strengths. There is science that supports the “why” in having a program such as Bucket Fillers to promote and provide opportunities for students to express gratitude. When we fill others’ buckets by expressing gratitude and sharing good feelings, our own buckets are filled, improving our health and well being. It has been shown that those that practice gratitude experience physical, psychological, spiritual and social benefits. When regularly practicing gratitude, people experience a stronger immune system, better quality sleep, higher levels of positive emotions, increased resilience, greater generosity and compassion.
The unique events that we are experiencing provide us all an opportunity to share gratitude together while building resiliency. There is so much for us to be grateful for each day. Beginning a family gratitude journal could be a fun way to connect and cultivate gratitude. It could be something to look forward to doing together as you share a few minutes at dinner, or the time that works best for your family, writing down specific things or people you are grateful for during the day. During this time at home may spark some creativity too! Maybe consider creating beautiful gratitude rocks. All you need is some smooth rocks and paint markers or sharpies. Then decorate the rocks with people or things for which you are grateful. These could be displayed in a shallow bowl as a nice reminder. Or, how about the beauty of creating a gratitude flower garden? You could draw the flowers or cut out petals to build your own. In the circle write “I am thankful for…” and in each petal write the things that you are grateful for each day. I encourage you to make gratitude celebrations part of your family fun. As Saint Mary Euphrasia said, “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Make memories each day of grace and gratefulness.