What other people say they are grateful for.

I work hard to keep up one daily practice in my life: writing down at least three things I can be grateful for each day. It’s not always easy and sometimes I have to do it on the fly because I didn’t get the morning writing session I wanted, but it’s key to how I live and enjoy my life. (Incidentally, my very first blog post here back in 2007 was a gratitude list.)

Earlier this semester, I took attendance in my class by asking students to write one thing they were grateful for on an index card. It was our second class together and I thought it would bring some positive energy to the classroom, as well as boost the moods of the students.

Nothing could have prepare me for how much it boosted my mood when I sorted through the 150 or so index cards. They ranged from simple (“food”) to fancy (“a friend inviting me to her lake house this weekend”) and from trivial (“pizza I’m going to make later”) to inspirational (“one more day to work hard towards achieving my goals”). As a group, they were magnificent.

The teacher-student relationship is one that comes with inherent power dynamics that often leaves me feeling a bit disconnected from my student. Particularly early in the semester, before we know each other and we’re both just sizing each other up, wondering how the next four months is going to go. But this made me feel really close to them, and so grateful for the part of my life that they are – a big source of joy.

I made a video compiling with some of the responses and you can watch it below!

One more lovely note: the most popular answer, by a wide margin, was “family and friends.” Something we can all not only have, but be!


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