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Sharing Gratitude

As I’ve gotten older, Thanksgiving has risen to be my favorite holiday. It’s the peaceful lull between the sugar high of Halloween and the excited anticipation of Christmas. Last year, we started a new family tradition of hanging thankful leaves on our wrought iron tree. It’s my opportunity to truly stop and recognize my blessings and a way to introduce gratitude to my children.

To me, gratitude is a deep and powerful emotion. While giving thanks is always important, it can be pretty easy. We say thank you when someone holds the door for us; and yes, I am thankful for the kindness and genuinely recognize it. But gratitude elicits a reaction much deeper than a smile. It can bring tears to your eyes or make you walk lighter from pure happiness.

Over the past couple of weeks gratitude has poured through teachers’ emails. The deep relief the FIRST LEGO League teacher had knowing her students would walk into the competition dressed as a team. Their new team shirts remove the psychological burden students incur when they don’t look like a team as other, wealthier, schools do. Or the amazement from the Athletic Director who can host a banquet to recognize student athletes’ achievements. Now, his athletes can participate in a time honored tradition of sharing a meal with fellow teammates and parents like so many other student athletes in our region.

While Start 1 Spark’s focus is on supporting students’ dreams, a beautiful side effect is hearing how teachers’ dreams are also fulfilled. Teachers are keenly aware of the extra resources wealthier schools have and work hard to limit the disappointment and heartache students feel when compared to wealthier students. Teachers in Title I schools have the same visions and hopes for their students as other teachers, just a very different reality when trying to achieve them. For our teachers, your support is the ground that props them up and says, “You’re not alone.” On behalf of the teachers and students whose lives you are truly impacting, I offer my deepest gratitude. You ARE making dreams come true.

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