Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lessons from kids: Gratitude

Recently, I've been traveling a lot for work. In fact, over the course of two weeks, I visited 15 college campuses in Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, driving nearly 2000 miles along the way. They were an incredible two weeks, filled with inspiring moments, incredible student leaders, and impacting chapters of our organization (the number of "i" words in that last sentence? Totally unintentional.).

But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about gratitude, and how you can learn it from kids. These kids, in particular:

Because as amazing as my two weeks were, they took me away from a group of 20 elementary schoolers who I love very much for four whole practices.

When I arrived for practice on Tuesday of this week, I was met with screams of "Coach Jen!," hugs, and even a "You better not ever do that to me again."

I like working with kids for a lot of reasons. Obviously, first and foremost, because they like to do things that I like to do. Things like: make silly faces, dance like fools, eat bagels and candy, and laugh a whole lot. I like that they are funny without meaning to be, can't really hold grudges, and are accepting of each other - quirks and all. But one of the things I love the most about working with kids is that they are experts at showing appreciation. Not because they shower you with praise or tell you "thank you" every time they see you, but because their actions are genuine, and they speak so loudly that they don't have to tell you anything at all.

We can learn a lot about gratitude from kids.

Thank yous are great, of course, but gratitude can come in all forms: hugs, buttercups, friendship bracelets, smiles. From my girls, gratitude is being included in a game, having my hair painted neon yellow, and even "You better not ever do that to me again."

Because when gratitude is genuine, the intention is obvious, no matter what the action.

How have you shown gratitude today? 

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