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Gratitude Grows in Oakland

I love sharing gratitude practices with teachers.

Today, I brought my Gratitude Workshop to a very special school, right here in the East Bay. The room was full of K-6 educators who actively create a truly inclusive school community reflective of the racial and socioeconomic diversity of Oakland. At Urban Montessori Charter School (UMCS) teachers recognize that maintaining a respectful community where all students achieve, differences are valued, voices are heard, and power is shared requires constant dialogue and hard work.

Bringing gratitude practices into this space was a privilege and a very meaningful experience. I ask my workshop participants to write a letter to someone who has been important to them, someone who has gone out of their way to love, support, or help them. After they write down their ideas, they look at their calendars and pick a time to read their letter out loud in person! This is called the gratitude visit, and it’s one of the most robust positive psychology interventions known to boost happiness, resiliency, and feelings of social support.

After the workshop, the teachers left and as I met with the administrator, there was a knock on the door and two grinning faces in the doorway. It turns out that one teacher chose his mom for his gratitude visit, and his mom happened to be on campus right after the workshop…so he read his letter to her right then and there!

They were beaming at me and each other, as he introduced me to his mom, “She’s the one that made me do it! She's the gratitude researcher! Thank her, not me!” I could tell the letter meant a lot to his mom. It was an honor to bask in the afterglow of their moment of appreciation.

This is what I love about sharing gratitude practices. I love the way it brings people together in meaningful moments. I love how appreciation flows freely. I love inspiring teachers to teach kids about gratitude!

Gratitude is good for schools!

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