Turkey and Gratitude

So I’m still bloated from last night’s American Thanksgiving celebration (thank you Meagan and Mike), and even though I’m Canadian, I have to admit that I still love helping my neighbors to the south put away all that yummy turkey and pumpkin pie. What I really love about this time of the year however, is the opportunity that the weekend affords us all (even if we’re not American) to reflect, give thanks, and be grateful for all that we have in our lives. I was thinking a lot about this as I was driving home last night, and I came to an acute realization that what we have created as a school over the past few years for our students and for each other is something truly special. I want to take the opportunity this week to say a special thank you to each and every one of you for being so outstanding for our students, and for each other. I want you all to know how grateful I am to be working alongside such committed and passionate educators, and how inspired I am to come to work everyday because of the people that you are. I’m grateful for the smiles and laughter that you bring to the job…..I’m grateful for the complete focus that you give to our students and their learning……I’m grateful for how hard you work to not only help each and every one of our students be successful, but also for how hard you work to grow and improve as educators each and every day……and I’m grateful that we have cultivated a common purpose when it comes to the vision that we have for our kids and for our community.

Because international schools are such transient environments, and because I know that next year’s faculty make-up will look a lot different than this year’s with a few of us moving on to new adventures, I want to remind you not to take this year for granted. What we have right now as a collective team is pretty special in my opinion, and I want you all to take a moment today to be grateful, and thankful for the pleasure and opportunity that we all have to share our days with each other and our kids. We might never again be in a place as professionals where we’re surrounded by so many world class educators (although I’ll never stop trying to recreate this current mix), so take some time to look around and take it all in. Take this first week of December (before the mad rush of summative assessments and reports and holiday concerts and comment writing) to tell your colleagues how grateful you are for them, and how thankful you are to be sharing in their lives…..tell our students too! The year is flying by as it usually does, and before we know it this special gift of a year will be a memory……make it truly count. Enjoy this beautiful poem by one of my favorite Canadian writers, and please enjoy the final day of this fantastic American Thanksgiving weekend. Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our student and grateful for each other.

Gratitude – Lucy Maud Montgomery

I thank thee, friend, for the beautiful thought
That in words well chosen thou gavest to me,
Deep in the life of my soul it has wrought
With its own rare essence to ever imbue me,
To gleam like a star over devious ways,
To bloom like a flower on the dreariest days­
Better such gift from thee to me
Than gold of the hills or pearls of the sea.

For the luster of jewels and gold may depart,
And they have in them no life of the giver,
But this gracious gift from thy heart to my heart
Shall witness to me of thy love forever;
Yea, it shall always abide with me
As a part of my immortality;
For a beautiful thought is a thing divine,
So I thank thee, oh, friend, for this gift of thine.

Quote of the Week………
If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.
– W. Clement Stone

TED Talk – David Steindl-Rast
http://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful.html
Article – Gratitude Can Fuel School Transformation (thanks Melinda)
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/gratitude-school-transformation-elena-aguilar
The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHv6vTKD6lg
Expanding Gratitude –
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude
Gratitude Power –
http://gratitudepower.net/science.htm

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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