It’s Labor Day weekend, and while a number of you are back in school, for many this weekend marks the traditional end of summer – and the start of a new school year. In my childhood this was all about new—clothes, pencils, pens, book bag (no backpacks then), notebooks, and more. I loved the smells I associated with these acquisitions. The beginning of school made me feel older. Although my birthday was back in July, September meant I was in a higher grade. It was like the measurement of my height my father would mark on the wall.
Today I realize all these are reasons to be grateful. Having new things does not happen for everyone. Too many girls (and in places, boys as well) do not have access to education. It bothers me that students throughout the United States go to schools without school librarians. So I am grateful for all of you who are returning and bringing what you do to your students.
Gratitude is an important part of life. It’s easy to focus on all that goes wrong in life. We can create huge lists of those, but it doesn’t make anything better. I keep a gratitude journal and record at least two things each day. At first, it was all the big things—my family, my health, being financially secure. But when I ran out of big things, I began to notice the little ones—a sunny day, lunch with a friend, having a productive day. Then the lovely ones like my husband doing something unexpected for me or a great call or visit with one of my children. It has become easy to see I lead a wonderful life.
I also record in my journal one way in which I give back to the world. Some days, it’s about where I give my time freely because I care about the cause, the group, or the association –such as the AASL committees on which I serve. It might be about doing something for my family or even taking care of me, so I don’t get overstressed and not be able to bring my best to those I love. It’s my personal recognition of the importance of not being a “taker.” The world is a better place when we give back to it. You do it every day on your job.
I started a related habit in January. I have a canister labeled “All Good Things.” Inside is a small pad. Every time something wonderful happens, I write it down with the date, fold it, and write the date again on the outside, and put it in the canister. New Year’s Eve I will take them out and read them in chronological order. It will be wonderful to relive a great year. If any of these ideas appeal, perhaps September can be the start of a new tradition for you.
For what are you grateful? Share your gratitude. It makes others aware.