“Thank you for your service,” is a phrase with which we are all familiar – especially on Veterans Day. It is a phrase that is particularly meaningful in November when we celebrate the service of our veterans along with the holiday of Thanksgiving. We help students to develop a sense of gratitude by identifying ways that they have acted with kindness toward others. Being grateful is an important character trait that we practice regularly in our schools as a way to develop social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies. These SEL competencies are:
- Self-awareness. SEL development at SOCSD considers how we all should recognize the positive supports that we have received over the years. Our successes would not be possible if it weren’t for the direct and/or indirect assistance we have received from family, friends, and community members. We encourage students (and each other) to reflect upon the ways that we can express our gratitude for our successes and well-being. Thanking the veterans of our armed forces for their service is a great example.
- Social awareness. Gratitude fosters social communication by helping us to understand each others’ feelings which, in turn, contributes to our understanding of the value of kindness. Through our character education programs at SOCSD, we teach students that there can be no joy without gratitude. When we choose to do something that benefits others, we often help ourselves emotionally.
- Relationship skills. Being grateful can strengthen our ability to influence others in a positive manner. Collaborative relationships often require us to support (or at least understand) each others’ decisions. When we demonstrate grateful behavior, others may be more willing to collaborate with us.
During the month of November, many of us will celebrate Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving…these events are perfect opportunities that remind us to be grateful, not only on these special occasions but every day in all that we do.