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The Eyes of Gratefulness

My daughter Madeline is in Grade 3 and she was asked to make a gratitude jar for her class. My 4 year old son, Spencer made one as well. I have to give full credit to her teacher, Ms. Koh for this assignment as it prompted me to write both this blog post and shoot the video that I sent to my school community this past week.

Her assignment was to make a Gratitude Jar: then each day, write down something they’ve been grateful for despite what’s happening in the community and in the world. You’ll see in the video that Madeline read out some really simple things that her and her brother wrote: hugs from mommy, toys, friends – things we would normally expect kids to put into such jars.


Yet, as I shot the video – it took 5 takes…there was a version of it without her brother in it because he got angry and left – and listened to her read those items out of the jar over and over, my heart was reminded of this one very important point…

From time to time, we have to see life through the eyes of a child.

Through the eyes of a child we see:

  • that the education system is working extremely hard to connect with our children. Teachers and educators thrive on personal connection and relationship building – with their students, the students’ families and their own colleagues. However, during this difficult time, teachers, administrators and support staff have gone above and beyond to connect with families AND each other. I can only speak to my direct experience in BC as a District Principal and as a parent– but I have also read stories that this is happening all over Canada and North America.

  • that families, despite the struggles – and there are families that struggle – are overall handling this pandemic with dignity, grace, love and resilience. As I watch the news daily – I see story after story of what people are doing to handle social distancing and semi-isolation. Yes, it is easier for some than it is for others – but I’m seeing many more positive stories than horribly negative ones. The news, for the first time in a long time, has been positive despite the tragedy in the world.

  • that communities are coming together. There’s kindness at grocery stores. Neighbours are checking in on each other. Strangers are waving at each other and saying hi – to stay connected. People are constantly asking “how can I help” not knowing if they can even help.

  • that the sacrifice of our essential service workers is being recognized daily. The organic display of understanding and recognition has been awe inspiring.

  • that family and friends matter. Even if we see them 6 feet apart, or through a screen, or hear their voice through the phone, or get an email with a picture attached: connections count.

My kids are not saints – honestly: if you don’t believe me please offer to live with us for a few days. PS. -my wife and I MAY leave if you offer this. However, I have learned from them, through these gratitude jars – and watching them every single day for the past 5 weeks: they are happy, and they are grateful for life. I challenge everyone reading this: when you are at your lowest point – during this crisis or otherwise, and when you feel that the weight of all that you struggle with is bearing down upon you: to look at the world and your life through the eyes of a child. I promise you, if you do that, you will smile: and you will be grateful.

My message to students and families can be found here. You don't need facebook to see it.

Until next time. Stay safe.

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