Forget the Hat. Choose Gratitude.

A mother and her young son were walking along the ocean shore. Suddenly, a tidal wave swooped over them and carried the boy out to sea.

The mother fell to her knees pleading with God. “Please return my son,” she prayed. “Please, please, please, please return my son. I beg you!”

A moment later another tidal wave crashed upon the shore, depositing the young boy at his mother’s feet. He had nary a scratch upon him.

The mother inspected her son, then looked back towards heaven. She shouted, “He had a hat!”

Too often people worry so much about the things they don’t have that they forget to be grateful for the things they do.

We do it as students, as teachers, as administrators, as parents, and as spouses. The problem is, when we spend time wishing different ways our lives could be better, the pretty-darn-good lives we have pass us by.

Gratitude is a choice. It means making a conscious effort to be thankful for the myriad blessings in our lives.

Health. Family. Friends. Homes. Jobs. Food. Clothing. Etc. Etc. Etc.

We all fall in the trap of ingratitude from time to time. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

Instead of being thankful our son mowed the lawn, we criticize him for missing a spot. Instead of being grateful for having the opportunity to attend free public schools, we complain about too much homework. Instead of being happy for having a job as a teacher, we grumble about having to do parking lot duty.

We need to model for our students the “attitude of gratitude.” We need to look for the good in everything. We need to be grateful for what we have. We need to stop whining. We need to be thankful the wave returned our child and remember that the lost hat just isn’t that important.

One of my favorite reads on this topic is Shawn Achor’s “The Happiness Advantage.” You would be doing yourself a favor by watching this video and then reading his book: http://youtu.be/GXy__kBVq1M

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