Dear ANCS Elementary Families,
Thanks to Ms. Zelski, our school has been practicing the gift of mindfulness for many years. Every day that we have school wide morning meeting, Ms. Zelski and I lead the school in 60 seconds of a mindful moment where we all take just 1 minute to slow down our heart rate, practice the art of focus and reflect on an idea or strategy that can help us all be helpful members of our community. We have practiced having positive self talk, strategies for self regulation and more. Just as Ms. Zelski has done with us every year around this time of year, this week I have been leading our school family through thinking about gratitude. I have shared with everyone a very specific strategy that each of us can use to make having gratitude an intentional practice. The strategy is referred to as the five finger gratitude practice in which each day we put up 1 finger to represent something that we are grateful for. As a result, on Friday, we would have thought of at least five different things that we are grateful for.
The very first thing I thought of on Monday was how grateful I am for my family. The love, support and patience that they show me everyday is immeasurable and it is no secret that I need them to be the best person that I can be for you all, my school family. Yesterday, before we took our mindful moment, I asked a few students to share the one thing they were grateful for that they thought about the day before. We heard from three different students who eagerly and bravely shared their thoughts. One of those students shared that he was “grateful for life.” Now, that might surprise you, but it certainly didn’t surprise me. Our students are deep, thoughtful and critical thinkers and the more opportunities we take to stop and listen, the more we can learn about who they are and what connections they are making as they move through this world. “Grateful for life,” what a powerful and deep moment of gratitude and I couldn’t help, but make an instant connection with that student. As a black woman of Caribbean descent, there are times where I might be in a space around the world, country, state or city where my life isn’t valued; however, I have been able to safely come home to the ones that I love. So yes, yesterday, filled with a variety of emotions, I took three deep breaths and for the next sixty seconds I simply repeated to myself, “I am grateful for life.”
If you haven’t had the opportunity to join our school wide morning meeting this week or in past years during this time of year, I invite you to join us from wherever you are in implementing a new practice into your daily routine, not just for this season, but everyday throughout the year. Whether it is the five finger practice of gratitude or another routine that speaks to you, together, let’s turn this week’s mindful moment focus into a daily habit.
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate and I hope everyone has a fun and safe break!