Let the Colors Shine!

So this week I want to talk all about giving thanks, and being grateful, and taking the time to slow down in our pursuit of educational happiness to simply embrace being happy…we work so hard as quality educators and as quality schools that it becomes very, very easy to get lost in the work, and blinded by where we need to go to accomplish our strategic plans, and overwhelmed by the areas that still need our attention, which will hopefully transform our schools into the ones that we’re all dreaming about. Slowing down, and taking a deep collective breath, and celebrating the work that’s been done along the way is the key to allowing the good work to continue in my opinion. Last Friday for example, we held our Thanksgiving day celebration as an entire school community, where we gave thanks to each other, we shared a meal together, and we reflected on all that we’ve accomplished so far this year as an AC family.

 

To tell you the truth, there was a moment during the student speeches when I looked around and got a little choked up, and I found myself holding back the tears. The sun was shining in the crisp, clear Ecuadorian sky, the entire audience was smiling and happy, with our first graders sitting with our ninth graders, our juniors holding hands with our littlest ones, our parents and teachers standing side by side beaming from ear to ear, our guards and maintenance workers cheering loudly at every opportunity, and the gratitude that I felt inside at that particular moment came spilling over. If we all stop to really think about it, there is so much to be thankful for in our lives that it’s making my head spin. We work in a beautiful school, in a beautiful country, with amazing students, and incredible teachers, and engaged parents, and a loyal and proud support staff, and an inspiring educational leader (Madeleine Heide), and a strong vision for the future…I could go on and on and on. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives that we can forget to take the time to recognize, and internalize all that we have to be thankful and grateful for. I’m asking you all this week to think deeply about the blessings that you have in your lives, and the areas/people/opportunities in your life that deserve your gratitude. Then, I want you all to shout it from the rooftops, and let the gratitude spill over into words, and actions, and reflections. Like Madeleine said the other day, being grateful in silence just isn’t good enough anymore!

 

I want to start by saying thank you for your unwavering commitment to our students, and to their learning. I want to say thank you for being so good to each other, and to me, and for approaching every educational conversation with an open mind and with positive intent. I want to thank you for finding your educational voices, and your educational courage so quickly this year, and I want to thank you for being the kind, caring, and hardworking people and professionals that you all are. Finally, I want to thank you for pushing back so that we make our decisions through a critical lens, and with an eye firmly focused on what’s best for our kids…I’m thankful to be here with all of you, and I’m grateful for the chance to work in such an inspiring school community…what are you thankful and grateful for? Pass it around this week and pay it forward…let the people you care about know how grateful you are to have them in your life, and don’t leave any stone unturned. I love this week’s quote by the way, as it clarifies how powerful sharing your gratitude can be…it’s time to clean your glass everyone and to let the colors shine! Have a fantastic week and remember to be great for our students and grateful for each other!

Quote of the Week…….

Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors

–          Richelle E. Goodrich

 Gratitude Videos – (Please watch…they just might make your day)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj2ofrX7jAk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5lZBjWDR_c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRlh5xNzFx0

 TED Talk – (Inspiring)

http://www.ted.com/talks/haas_hahn_how_painting_can_transform_communities

 Articles About Gratitude and Giving Thanks –

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/gratitude-school-transformation-elena-aguilar

http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201211/giving-thanks

http://online.wsj.com/articles/thanksgiving-and-gratitude-the-science-of-happier-holidays-1417183949

http://www.unstuck.com/gratitude.html

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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