Sunday, October 13, 2013

Attitude of Gratitude

Do you have a pet peeve?
(WHOA!  Don't all come at me at once!)
Oh, wait.
You said: "peeve"
not "pea"....
my bad!
Regina!  You're a dork!
I spend my time making clip art 
for your posts, and that's what I get?
No, really....I AM a dork.  
Watch out if you ever meet me....
I am (dare I say) brilliant, yet clueless.
Living in Regina World 
is one of King Common Sense's
joking (or is he?) phrases for me.

--Back To Your Post.....Please continue about Pet PEEVES.
I do have a pet peeve.
It may be ridiculously simple to most folks,
but it's a big fat hairy deal to me.

I really, really, really, 
don't like it when kids forget to say
"Thank you." 

2 words.
2 syllables.
8 letters.
Not a big deal.
Not too much to ask right?
OK....I think I'm back on track with your theme, sista friend!

But NOT saying them
often is a big deal... least to me.

It bothers me when kids (mine or others)
just expect anything and everything
handed to them...because they want it.

I'm not talking big fancy smanshy toys.
Even the little things in life.
(After all, life is in the little things.)
Kids who go around 'expecting' stuff scare me.
If you think the world 
is here to cater
to your every need,
I really don't want to be around when that
fantasy flies right into the face of reality. seriously.
That'll be one big temper tantrum!

Whatever happened to asking nicely for it?
Then responding with a simple "Thank you."
Just because you want or need it,
doesn't mean that I am obligated to give it to you.

Don't get me wrong,
yes it is my job to clothe and feed my short people.
But if I get up from the kitchen table
to pour Ben and Abby some more milk,
I would appreciate a simple "Thank you."

Why?  Because to say so means
that they appreciate this small act.
To not say so means
they expect me to give them 
whatever they want,
whenever they want it.

If I buy either of them something from
the store, I would appreciate a
"Thanks Mom." as we're leaving the check out.

Why?  Because to say so means
they appreciate the fact that I took
the time to shop for them and spend money on them.
To not say so means
they expect it without any regard for being thankful for it.
If you're not thankful for it,
how can you ever appreciate anything you have?

One day, many years ago, my kiddos 
(Karate Ballerina, Hollywood, and Golden Boy) 
were being very demanding 
and not very nice about it.  
I remember I was driving over a railroad track 
when this just slipped out of my mouth :

"Hey, I'm your mother, 
and it's my job to make sure 
that you have love, shelter and food....
even if it's just a cardboard box 
that you get to crawl into every night
and food that I've had to scrounge 
and pull out of a dumpster."  

The car became deathly silent.

Where these words came from, I have no idea.
I think I had been watching too many movies
about dire straits...
but there is some truth to it.
My suburban children 
who have ALWAYS
 lived in a nice house with nice cars, 
being loved and well cared for 
since the day they were born,
having all of their needs 
and many of their wants met....
were in complete shock
riding along in our SUV that day.
Their mother had gone over the edge....
and they didn't really know
 if she was serious or not.

I think they're still trying to 
figure that one out 
10 years later,
...that's OK, keep them guessing
and thankful for all they have!...
because let me tell you....
my kids KNOW how to say 
"Thanks, Mom."
....and I don't think 
they have ever quite looked 
at another cardboard box 
quite the same way.

James Dobson once said that
"Values are often caught, not taught."

I couldn't agree more.
We can't just talk the talk with our kids.
We have to walk the walk.
(BTW-Kids see right through that 
blah, blah, blah.
However, they look directly at your actions
which speak volumes about what you really believe in.
Just saying...)

What does this look like at school? 

When the office calls down with
a message about how a student
 is to go home that day,
I say "thank you."

If a colleague pops in my room
to give me something,
I say "thank you."

When a student hands me a drawing
they made for me last night,
I say "thank you."

If a parent takes time out of 
their schedule to volunteer in our classroom,
we tell them "thank you."
-Dank U-

When a student brings cupcakes
in for their birthday, 
right before we dive into the frosting,
we say "thank you."


When we're in line for lunch,
I remind the kids that the 
cafeteria ladies have been here
all morning preparing lunch for them.
So we say "thank you."
About 100 years ago when 
I first started teaching.
(OK, so it wasn't 100 years ago
but it often feels like it.)
I was in another district with
some very aggressive behaviors.

One of my favorite memories
from that time had nothing
to do with how well they wrote or 
what reading level they rose to.

That memory was the day
the lunch lady came down to my room
after lunch was served.
She told me that every single child
in my class said "thank you" 
as they were handed their tray of food.
I'm not gonna lie.  I was choked up.
(Yes, I'm a sap!)
No they weren't an easy bunch to reach.
Yes I often dreaded going to work.
No they didn't always rise to my expectations
both socially and academically.
Yes I questionned my effectiveness as
their teacher and my decision
to even become a teacher.
(not lying)
But on this day,
they ALL used their manners
and the lunch lady had appreciated it.
Maybe they had been paying attention 
and learning something.

I realize that we have bigger fish to fry
than worrying about simple manners.
Some will say, 
"That's not our job, it's the parents'."

Well I see your're often
spending more waking moments with them
than their parents.  
(Yes, that's a scary thought both
from the perspective of Mom and of teacher.)
With that in mind, 
wouldn't you prefer
that they rise to your expectations
in regards to thoughtful behavior?

Personally, I would prefer to hang out
with kids that are appreciative for what 
you've planned and prepared
for them each day.
If I've modeled that attitude of gratitude day in and day out,
they're much more likely to behave the same way.

with that in mind, I have a classroom tip
to share with you.

At the beginning of the year, I take a class
pic of my students holding letters that spell out
"Thank you."
I make around 20 copies of this one picture.

Whenever we go on a field trip,
have a visitor to our classroom,
enjoy a fun assembly,
receive a special gift,
need to thank room parents for a fun party,
or for any other reason, 
I have a personalized card for the occasion.
You are just all that, and a bag of chips!
He he, I giggle when you talk like me! 

Here's this year's pic:
(Again, I don't have a bunch of Wal-Mart employees
as students.  Out of respect for my students, 
and for keeping my job, 
I've covered their faces with smiles.)

Hope you find this to be a practical
way to show your students' gratitude
throughout the year.
Very clever!
I've done this before at the END of the year, 
but I never thought of doing it at the 
beginning of the year to have on hand!  
THAT'S 20 years of experience talking!
Have I ever told you:
"Thank you for being my blogging buddy?"

Back at ya my sista from the South!

...oh, and by the way,
thank you for reading to the end of this post.

Oops...sorry...that just slipped.
You are very welcome,
and thank you for writing! 

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