The Gratitude Project–Part 2 (2017)
A few days before Thanksgiving, I asked my high school students to take an inventory of what they were thankful for this year. They knew ahead of time that I would be sharing their lists, and, as promised, I emailed the class projects to my students’ parents and guardians on Thanksgiving morning. (You can view the finished products HERE.)
Part 2 of the assignment was to commit a Random Act of Kindness over Thanksgiving break. On their first day back, the students reflected on their experiences. Take a look at some of the fabulous, very-adult realizations the students made. (I shared the list below with my students’ parents in my December newsletter.) I’m teaching some pretty kindhearted, magnanimous souls!
- Over the break, I helped my mom put up all of the Christmas Decorations in our house, which actually took about 2 hours because we have WAY too many, and [which] I even had to wake up early to do…I knew that my mom had a lot of work to do…so it was helpful to her. This action helped me feel good about myself because I usually do not help with decorations, but this year I decided to.
- My random act of kindness…was volunteering to help set the table at Thanksgiving. My mom was certainly appreciative of my offering, but more so shocked…I could tell it took stress off of her…I saw her face instantly relax once the table was set, and her visually exhale out of relief. I felt good after setting the table, about myself and about my contribution. Helping my mom, when she so often helps me, was a really nice feeling.
- Although I only got a small “thank you,” I still felt better about my day, and I was glad that I got to help someone out that seemed like they needed it.
- At work, I helped out a woman with a broken arm…It felt nice to help her out and it felt very empowering. She needed help and there was no one else who was going to help her so I did. When I think back on it I wonder, what if I was in her situation?
- The effect of the random act on me was that I did more that day than sitting doing other things while my mom worked. I know that she enjoyed my help because she wasn’t as tired as she would’ve been if I had not helped doing small but big tasks around the house.
- My random act of kindness was bringing the dirty dishes to the sink. I was about to run upstairs to my room after eating, but both of my parents were still sitting down. I stopped and turned around. They just finished their food, so I offered to take their plates. They said “thank you” and continued to watch their show. It felt good to do this small act for my parents. After all, that is the least I could do considering my mom cooked all the food for us while I watched Netflix.
For the December holidays, my students will be encouraged to complete another Random Act of Kindness, and I’ll be sharing this list of fabulous ideas from fellow-educator Brad Aronson (@bradaronson).