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gratitudeHere is an old idiom for you – “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” My mom used to say that to me when I was growing up. As with those who have language related isms, that figure of speech confused me.  I simply could not understand why anyone would want more flies around.  She was referring to small tokens of gratitude.

Each year, my mother would send in gifts and cards throughout the year to all of my teachers.  I would ask my mom why she would do this, as not many other parents did.

My mother told me that anyone who interacted directly with me, whether a teacher, coach, youth leader, etc., was going to receive lots of tokens of appreciation and gratitude from her. She wanted to express her gratitude to the people involved with me so they knew that they were important and valued. By high school, the only interaction teachers had with parents was when the parent was complaining to the teacher or the teacher was calling about failing grades.

I have to say, I did stick out in a positive way in all those classes.  I was the student whose mom cared. I continued this tradition of appreciation with those who had come into contact with my daughter.

Liked that idiom? Learn more in Unlock the Door to the Secret Society of Idioms

Valentine’s Day Gratitude Challenge

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I challenge you to show appreciation and gratitude to at least one person who directly impacts your child’s life in a positive way.

Perhaps your son has a behavioral therapist who is in the “trenches” with your child trying to help model better ways to cope?

Maybe it’s the speech pathologist who takes extra time helping your child communicate more effectively?

Do you have a babysitter who helps you out when you need to get out of the house?

Or as an extra challenge, look at the flip side.  Is there is someone involved in your child’s daily schedule who is not your favorite person?  Perhaps this person is not exactly positive towards your child?  If you can,  challenge yourself.  Stretch your thinking a bit.  Think hard about something, anything that this person may have done well for your child.  Then take a moment and demonstrate that gratitude.  Who knows, you might even be fortunate enough to get that individual thinking more positively about your child.  They may just take a bit more time to consider your child in the future as they in turn may be filled with gratitude.

Tokens of Appreciation for Gratitude

I have worked in our school district with students who have pretty challenging behaviors. I love getting notes and tokens of appreciation and gratitude from parents – no matter how small. I get so excited when I read a card from a family who has noticed that we are making an impact on their child’s life.

I know that we are not supposed to have “favorites” but it is hard not to return the warmth of appreciation back to that student.  We do love working with a family that is on the same song sheet as us and supports our efforts in working with their child.

Hearing that what we are doing in class is having a positive impact at home is so rewarding for us. Sometimes, we only see the slightest of improvements at school.

Occasionally, I still receive emails from parents of former students.  The parents share with me what their child is doing and mention new accomplishments of which we can cheer on together.

Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Several years back, I worked with one particular student at school and for countless hours at his home and in the community. His family always showered me with notes of encouragement and appreciation. I still feel close to that family and send this young man cards on Christmas and his birthday. Sometimes I won’t see this student for several years, but each time I see him, we stare into each others eyes (which can be hard for this boy) and then embrace as though we have never been apart.

Appreciation goes two ways. Have you shown appreciation to those who positively impact your child’s life?