Today was graduation day for my daughter. Her life is at a new cross road and is filled with endless opportunity. Today was a day of celebration, reflection and at times sadness as we participated in end of year celebrations. For me as a parent this day marks a milestone in the life of my child as she comes of age and joins the adult world. Today I consciously served gratitude to those who have supported her over the last twelve years of her life, who helped her to shape her identity and moral compass. Howell (2012, p. 31) states “I believe that gratitude and indebtedness are inextricably intertwined.” Today I truly understood this statement. I am extremely grateful for the various staff who stood by her when she felt failure, who provided another viewpoint to an ethical dilemma, who guided her in her school curriculum when listening to her parents only brought further angst.
Today the annual teacher gifts were replaced with hugs, handshakes and words of genuine appreciation for their efforts to make my child the best person she feels she can be at this stage in her life.
One of the activities today was attending the final church service for the year. I smiled as I listened to the Liturgy of the Word. The Reading was from the book of Colossians (3:12-17).
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
This reading clearly depicts a story of how we must have patience, love and guide others and be thankful for our experiences and the gifts that may come into our lives. Simply put we must serve with gratitude and for the well being of another.
After mass I asked my youngest daughter who faces senior years in 2018, her thoughts on that particular reading and what the term “gratitude” meant to her. Her response came in short statements:
Gratitude lets me make decisions based on what I’ve learnt about the world from others.
Gratitude give me morals and an understanding of what should be right in the world
Gratitude is an interaction with others
Gratitude is a feeling of being thankful
Gratitude is showing appreciation through a verbal or physical action.
Howell (2012, pg. 6), states “Students orientate themselves to where they can feel valued and where there is trust”. I am grateful that we have chosen what appears to be an environment for our children who clearly feel valued and supported so the relationships they have with their teachers are based on trust and respect and the seeds of gratitude are planted.
Image Credit: (2016) Retrieved from http://www.theicc.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/crossroads.png