Attitude of Gratitude
Attitude of Gratitude
“There is only one real deprivation…and that is not to be able to give one’s gifts to those one loves most.” ~ May Sarton
This quote seemingly speaks about Alberta’s current state of restrictions. Let’s face it, the festivities and celebrations that we partake in are going to be different. For many, the upcoming holidays have become an outreach program as we figure out how to connect with family and friends virtually.
Since we are left with our own company, what a great time to work on ourselves. No matter our busy schedules, it seems that, with the new year around the corner, we start to think about what we could do differently. How can we be better versions of ourselves for when we return to our early learning environments? How can we bring our scattered focus into view?
The answer: through the gift of giving. Giving is good for us! Giving has many positive effects on our physical and mental health. Science backs this up. “There is evidence that, during gift-giving behaviours, humans secrete ‘feel good’ chemicals in our brains, such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical).” (retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-giving-is-good-for-your-health/)
Here are 6 simple gifts that you can give - year-round – to the children that you work with and, in return, reap the rewards of:
- Modelling generosity of spirit
So, what are these gifts, you ask?
- The first is the Gift of Undivided Attention - be present, in the moment, with the children; actively listen to their stories; put down any distractions; comment thoughtfully and nod appreciatingly
- The second is the Gift of Enthusiasm – be excited about what the children want to share with you; be their cheerleader and give them a ‘rah rah rah’ when needed
- The third is the Gift of Creative Energy – be curious; allow yourself to wonder; allow yourself to think outside the box as you observe and interact with the children; think about the ‘why” and the ‘how’ and how you can bring them to life
- The fourth is the Gift of Simple Seasonal Pleasures - bring the beauty of the season into your early learning environments through pictures, through sensory bags, and by exploring the outdoors, whether it be going on a walk, making snow angels, or simply looking out the window
- The fifth is the Gift of Good Cheer – bring a positive attitude and outlook to all you do; find joy in the simplest pleasures – a smile from a child, a small hand tucked into yours – dwell on the good so that you can be fortified against the bad; establish a responsive environment that is based on social-emotional learning
- The sixth is the Gift of Wonder – we are very fortunate to work with little people who see the world through unfiltered lenses. Wonder alongside them; embrace and revel in the unknown, the unexpected, and the unexplained.
These six simple gifts do not cost anything material-wise. They do cost our time and effort as they require us to dig into our natural resources, those very resources that are feeling depleted right now and in need of a break. So, take time over the next few days – when you have a moment to yourself – to recharge, rejuvenate and refocus - so that you can give of yourself. We can afford these gifts, even on a childcare educator’s income. What we cannot afford is to ignore them!
*Adapted from Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach (1995)