“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more”.
- David Steindl-Rast
What a strange week it has been for me! It started fine on Monday, and then... BOOM! My world got flipped upside down by the old influenza virus. Total shutdown. For several days, I was essentially a motionless pile of quilts with a pair of eyes peering out… This was not how I planned my week to be!
My note to you this week is an extension of the work that I used to do with my senior students down in New York City, with whom I used to study positive psychology. We would all spend the last month of school focused on the idea of gratitude, or gratefulness, which study after study seems to be proving key to our overall sense of lasting happiness in life. Being actively grateful, through journaling, letter writing or simply being present and aware of your feelings of gratitude, seems to have both an immediate and long-term effect on our sense of positive well-being. Acts of gratitude could also affect the happiness of others. The final project for my class was always to write and send a letter of gratitude to a person who had impacted your life. The results for the writers and the recipients were nearly always tear-jerking and heartwarming. I like to think the project made everyone involved a slightly happier person.
One of the many things I have to be grateful for on this flu shortened week is that I belong to a community of friends at Randolph that time and time again has shown me and my family that it will support us through anything. This week parents from Randolph offered to help pick my kids up and shuttle them to and from school in the morning, often on short notice, and sometimes at great personal inconvenience ( and always with a smile and a laugh). Other parents have checked in on me by email or text, and one parent even dropped of some homemade pasta sauce with my kids! Wow!! The teachers and staff at school have likewise suffered my absence (from the “rookie flu”) with much patience and understanding, and have flooded me with warm wishes and sage medicinary advice. Most importantly, they have just carried on being amazing at what they do.
So, I may not have a lot to say about this week at Randolph. I wasn’t able to be there much. But in my absence, I think I found a great deal to say about the type of community we have at Randolph School. I believe it is something special, something important, and is at the core of what we are trying to accomplish at the school. We may not live in 1963 any longer, but that doesn’t mean that the spirit of what was started in 1963 on Randolph Avenue no longer lives. Thank you each for being a part of this community dedicated to supporting each other and our children as we keep on living and learning.