During this time of the year, no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are reminded to be grateful for the things that make our lives special. And regardless of what we are thankful for, experiencing gratitude is essential in our journeys toward well-being.
Gratitude, like any other skill, is something we can cultivate and practice to improve ourselves and positively impact the people around us. So as school leaders, it is part of our duty to ignite a sense of gratitude in our school community and lead by example when it comes to small gestures of kindness.
1. Make Positive Phone Calls
If you are a parent of school-age children, you know that feeling when you see their school’s phone number appear on your phone. Imagine if that call was positive: Try calling parents to express gratitude for being part of the school community, being involved in their child’s learning, being kind and helpful, or consistently contributing to class conversations. This small, sincere act of gratitude takes little time and can completely shift the dynamic between the home-school connection.
2. Write An Open Letter Of Gratitude
Public displays of gratitude can be extra-special. After all, when you want to share your appreciation for someone (like families or students), let everyone know about it. When I write letters of gratitude, I don’t fold them up and hide them in an envelope. No way! I print them on a card and frame them for all to see (why not post your own letter of gratitude on your school’s website?). Plus, keep in mind, gratitude is contagious.
3. Leverage Social Media
Using platforms that are designed for sharing makes amplifying gratitude even easier. This is also a great way to highlight staff members who do so much but don’t always get acknowledged. For example, you can include photos, graphics, and video to complement the text and make the post more visually engaging.
4. Use Gratitude Journals/Jars
We want to establish gratitude as a habit, and regularly capturing the things we are grateful for is an excellent way to form that habit. Welcoming rituals, engaging strategies, and optimistic closures are the three SEL signature practices that don’t take a lot of time and can have a significant impact. Using gratitude practices as part of a welcoming inclusion activity or optimistic closure is a great way to create a habit of gratitude and embed SEL in our routines. And when we capture our gratitude in personal journals or shared jars, we can take them out for reflection when we are having a tough day to lift everyone’s spirits.
At Schola, we are so thankful for being able to create a positive impact on children’s education and helping school leaders like yourself serve your community and reach your unique goals. Thank you for inspiring us every day.