Let's Talk About Education

Make gratitude and appreciation a habit

December 1, 2020 - By Claudia Araya - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Aristotle once said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves”, but the question is: how do we reach happiness without being grateful?

He pointed out the relationship between human dignity, “the best of us” and gratitude. That relationship teaches us that a mere thank you is not only that, it’s uniquely tied to the giving of one-self. With this in mind, I have come to the conclusion that it’s important we continue to enforce a culture of gratitude and appreciation around us. Being thankful is such a beautiful and powerful quality as we navigate in this tumultuous world.

It should be noted that being happy or being thankful does not depend on your economic status, or how many friends you have and it certainly doesn’t mean being dependent on electronics or even the most recent gadget. It can start as a small seed of appreciation and grow into a life leading direction that will allow ourselves to be grateful when we take the time to reflect on the moments, relationships and stories that truly shape our lives, and we give back a sense of peace and loving gratitude to our families, communities, and the world.

Gratitude means learning to appreciate the hard times because these moments that make the good ones feel even better. This mindset will give you the courage, the spirit, and the strength that allow you to get through challenging times and shape the person you are today. I believe that reflection, and being thankful should happen every day, but specially on these days, we have a shared opportunity to thoughtfully and collectively push our ‘thanks’ beyond our normal circles. So now, take a moment to reflect about what you’re thankful for.

Thankfulness is something that is personal and controllable. What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for:

  • My family, the love, support that comes with that structure. Thankful for my friends, who accept but challenge me to grow and become a better person.

  • The people who fight for the health of others. Those that fight for love, equity and inclusion of all people. Those who see both successes and setbacks in the next step in their journey.

  • Our nurses, staff, workers, IT team, faculty and leaders for making EARJ a school that cares about the immediate needs, safety and future of our children, and I am thankful for the amazing professionals that I get to work alongside and learn from.

  • The love and kindness of our students and community, which is expressed in actions that show gratitude and appreciation for those in need. They are tutoring, helping animal shelters, sewing face masks for people in Rocinha, organizing toy and food drives for the coming holidays, raising funds for our workers, and continuing to work consistently in many community service initiatives.

  • And of course, thankful for our Panther MUN delegates for their fantastic accomplishments this semester and for our student athletes that during this semester practiced sports and competed virtually with great results for our school. They became the champions in 4 out of the 5 sports, with the largest participation of all the participating schools.

What are you thankful for? Thanks to everyone reading this article, who in many ways, large and small, can, has and will continue to change other’s lives showing others your appreciation. For that, I am thankful.

Claudia Araya
Athletics & Activities Director

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