GratitudeNov 15, 2022
“The earth is firm beneath my feet,
The sun shines bright above,
And here I stand – so straight and strong,
All things to know and love.”
Harvest season brings a sense of thankfulness to the forefront but living in gratitude throughout the year imbues life with a tremendously potent sense of belonging and inner calm that allows one to radiate peace no matter what may come. A daily rhythm in which we intentionally cultivate small yet meaningful ‘rituals’ of gratitude opens our eyes and hearts to seeing beauty around us, to feeling the warmth of the sun, the promise of nourishment in the dark soil of the earth, the joy of wonder in the colors of the rainbow … but also the marvelous gifts of the fingers and hands we are blessed with, the lifegiving love of those nearest to our hearts, the safe harbor of a loving home.
Love and Gratitude weave their threads together through our lives strengthening and deepening each other. When we embrace their gifts and intentionally honor them in our daily lives, our children experience them in the atmosphere that is imbued with their warmth. When we venture out into the world embracing the natural world in all its cycles with loving gratitude, our children experience the expansiveness of loving gratitude and they, too, deepen their love for all creation in that experience. The school journey that unfolds with roots reaching into these experiences at home and out in the world brings forth the kind of deep and inspiring learning that transforms every lesson plan into a seed that will sprout at just the right time ready to bloom and give fruit of both, that which was learned, but also that which will come to life from the seed within that fruit. How do we begin to open the paths to such learning on the school journey? It really is both simple and powerful – we imbue our own life with reverence, gratitude, and love every day through little rituals, expressions of thankfulness and appreciation, intentional deeds, and a warm, centered presence with our children. It is in how we weave our own daily life together that these seeds are sown.
"An atmosphere of gratitude should grow naturally in children through merely witnessing the gratitude the adults feel as they receive what is freely given by others, and in how they express this gratitude. Out of this an all-embracing gratitude will develop [in the children] towards the whole world. The cultivation of gratitude is of paramount importance." ~ R. Steiner
In our Thinking – We can bring to memory reasons to be thankful for, thoughts on how we can express kindness and generosity that inspires thankfulness in others, questions we might have along the way, etc.
In our Feeling – We can open our hearts to feeling excited, peaceful, joyful, nostalgic, etc.; allow ourselves to feel our feelings gracefully and to be present with our children when they are moving through intense feelings, sharing stories with vivid imagery, or reading and sharing poems imbued by the feeling we are seeking to express.
In our Willing – We can create intentional acts of gratitude by saying Thank You to those we are grateful for, by making a small wall plaque for family members to write a word or two of thanks every day as they walk by it, by sending Thank You notes when appropriate, by expressing gratitude for the natural world surrounding us in little simple daily ‘rituals’ that feel true and authentic to us, etc. We can write, paint, draw, sculpt, create music, share prayers, cook, care for others, work with or to help someone, care for plants, animals, stones, waters – all of those bring us into to realm of Will and gratitude in “doing”.
“An Atmosphere of Gratitude, Reverence, and Wonder An atmosphere of gratitude should grow naturally in children through merely witnessing the gratitude the adults feel as they receive what is freely given by others, and in how they express this gratitude. If a child says “thank you” very naturally – not in response to the urging of others, but simply through imitating – something has been done that will greatly benefit the child’s whole life. Out of this an all-embracing gratitude will develop toward the whole world. This cultivation of gratitude is of paramount importance.” ~ R. Steiner
Dancing through our days on the wings of gratitude births a life illuminated by the glowing threads of love in action. The glow of those wonderous threads keeps our hearts open to love for life and to capacities to cherish love in all its abundant blessings. Kindness and compassion naturally pour out and experiences of generosity surrounding us as well as inspirations for generosity we are capable of abound.
“Gratitude connects people with the world, makes them feel part of the world. If one guides the child in such a way that it can develop gratitude for even the most unimportant or trivial things they meet in life, then that child does not close themselves off from the world of egotism, but instead becomes altruistic, feeling a part of the world and the environment. … If gratitude is experienced as compatible with all knowledge, then the feelings of the child will easily be penetrated by the love that the human being must have for all humanity and for all the living beings of the world.” ~ R. Steiner
~ By Ms. Daniela
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