The Glennie School

This semester we are beginning a series in Junior, Middle and Senior Years Chapel services on the Habits of the Heart. The idea is to help us develop habits in our lives that nourish ourselves and others, helping us to grow in faith and service. To form good habits we need to intentionally repeat a task or activity many times until they become automatically a part of our day. Each Habit of Heart aims to develop an aspect of life that will be positive, encouraging and enriching.

Our first habit is Gratitude; developing an attitude of thankfulness for everything in our lives and expressing gratitude towards others. Often it is easy for us to focus on the things that go wrong in our day, the disappointments and minor irritations. Having an attitude of gratitude helps us to turn those things around, thinking of ways to feel blessed or thankful instead of frustrated. I used a simple example with the girls of being somewhat (or majorly) annoyed at my cat for jumping up on my bed at 3:00am one morning, walking all over me and finally settling down to sleep curling up on my side. The Years P to 3 girls helped me to see that I could be thankful for the extra warmth and snuggling of my cat instead of being annoyed, and maybe I might have gone back to sleep more quickly. With the older girls my complaint was being completely unable to decide what to wear one morning. I tried on five or six combinations and nothing felt right. Most girls seemed to empathise with this dilemma! Of course, being grateful for having such a range of clothes to choose from, for a wonderful job that enables me to continue my shopping vice and thinking of those who go without warm clothes in winter could easily have turned around my thinking. Instead of walking out the door feeling ‘out of sorts’ my perspective on the day ahead would have been one of gratitude rather than annoyance.

When we take the approach of being grateful for the friends we have, even though we sometimes disagree, of being thankful for the educational opportunities at school, even though we don’t always enjoy having to do homework and assignments, we find our day goes more smoothly. We must take time out every day to notice the small blessings and the big ones and to be thankful.

I encourage you to watch this Ted Talk that I used with the Middle and Senior girls. Louie Schwartzberg is a cinematographer, director and producer who captures breathtaking images that celebrate life – revealing connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty. He developed a Gratitude Project which gives a wonderful introduction to developing a habit of gratitude.

To help in forming this habit I have challenged the girls to do two things. At the end each day, before they go to sleep, they are to think of three things they are grateful for that happened that day, then each morning to think of three things they are looking forward to and be grateful for them. With the Years P to 3 girls Kid President got them started with his list of reasons to be thankful.

St Paul writes in his letter to the Thessalonians, Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Ask your daughter how they have gone with developing this habit of gratitude in their day. (Years 4 to  6 are still to hear this chapel talk and Years 10 to 12 will only start the challenge today). My hope is that our whole community will be inspired to try each Habit of the Heart that we explore and I look forward to hearing about the things each family is grateful for over the coming weeks.

Rev Sharon

Posted with permission
Original article published here