I usually like to keep my blog posts on the positive side. There are certainly ups and downs of teaching kindergarten and the good things I write about always outweigh the bad.
But occasionally I see and hear things that I just feel need to be addressed. Maybe this blog is my way of venting.
Our school recently held its annual Harvest Fair. It's a nice little tradition where children can bring in a little money and purchase some gently used items from the White Elephant Table, some recycled jewelry, crafts or snacks from the snack table.
Most kids bring a small amount of money to school on that day but there are always a few who just forget or who's parents just can't afford an extra dollar or two. I am always sure to have some single dollars or quarters on hand just for that reason.
I noticed three of my cherubs had no money with them, so I handed them each a dollar. The first two both smiled and said, "Thank you!" One sat and said nothing as she took the dollar from me. I noticed the pout on her face so I had to ask "what's wrong?" Somehow though, I knew what the answer was going to be.
"Just a dollar? That's all? That's not enough."
I was speechless, and what I really really wanted to do was take the dollar back from her. Instead I gave her my "good manners" speech, and how a simple "thank you" was really a much better thing to say.
Is the sense of entitlement so ingrained in children that being grateful for the things they have is a thing of the past? Or is it simply a question of good manners. Just knowing when to say "please", "excuse me" or "thank you, that was a really nice thing you did for me."
Now I know she's only five and I suppose manners are something you have to be taught. I do my best to model good manners. I say thank you when they hand me their little drawings in the morning. I say please when I ask them to pass me a pencil or crayon. But there is only so much I can do.
It needs to come from home, after all, a parent is their child's first teacher.
However, being thankful goes beyond using good manners to show it. Being grateful is appreciating the little blessing that come to us each an every day.
What am talking about are the blessings of the people in our lives. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives. Special friends who are there with a smile or hug, and teachers who care enough to place a dollar into a child's hand.
I was reminded today how truly grateful I am when I saw a facebook post from a friend who just arrived back in Afghanistan to serve after some time spent at home. He was mentioning how time stands still there, that it hadn't changed, it was the same "dusty and nasty", but in all of that, being away from his family for the holiday, he still managed to find something to be grateful about..."the food is pretty good though."
If that's not thankful...I don't know what is.
Stay safe Brian, God speed...