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Ty Ankrom's ... Here's What I Think


From the Superintendent


In the category of good news, the mid-term elections are behind us so we can be thankful that the incessant airing of political ads is over as well.


But before Thanksgiving turkeys can even put their running shoes on, the commercials advertising items for holiday gifts are already out.


I fear too often commercialism overtakes the element of gratitude that should be a focus of the end-of-year holidays.


I’ve written about gratitude before because it’s a healthy component for everyone. Studies over the years have confirmed that, finding that being grateful improves physical and emotional health; enhances empathy and reduces aggression; improves self-esteem; increases mental strength; and opens doors to more relationships.

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley released a white paper in May that examined the science of gratitude. The paper (read it in full at https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/imageshttp://filecabinet2.eschoolview.com/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Gratitude-FINAL.pdf) is extensive, but a key point made is that gratitude “functions as social glue that nurtures the formation of new friendships, enriches our existing relationships, and underlies the very foundation of human society.”

While fewer studies have focused on the benefits of gratitude on young people, the white paper does cite studies that have found “grateful adolescents are more interested and satisfied with their school lives, are more kind and helpful, and are more socially integrated.”

An April article by Amy L. Eva proposes three ways to encourage gratitude at school (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_ways_to_cultivate_gratitude_at_school):

• Ask students to record three good things that happened to them, including in the exercise writing how or why they happened.

• Have students write a gratitude letter and then personally deliver it to the subject of the letter.

• Encourage students to maintain a gratitude journal, which the author writes helps students focus on the positive events in their lives.


For adult, check out this quiz to see how much gratitude you have: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/gratitude

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