Having the Gift of Gratitude

Recently,  a sample of a new newspaper called The Epoch Times was dropped off in our neighbourhood.  In it are featured a number of articles on health issues including the Pandemic, one article entitled  COVID Policy Missteps-What Can We Learn?

I have yet to read all the articles, but one in particular, caught my eye in the back section under Mind &Body entitled, The Profound Health Benefits of being Grateful. The article talks about how gratitude changes your brain and boosts your general health and well-being. I was particularly interested in the section on how gratitude could help you sleep not just better but also longer by having more positive and less negative presleep thoughts. This, according to a study in the  Journal of Psychosomatic Research. This makes sense.  It might mean something so simple as listening to the noon or 6 o’clock news if possible rather than the late-night news or choosing not to read that scary book at bedtime.

Personally, I believe having gratitude can also be a matter of deciding to be positive and appreciative not just for the so-called big things, but also the small things, ( which would often be pretty big if we didn’t have them eg. clean water to drink and bathe in,  or having good health) Things we often take for granted until we lose them. I also think this attitude of being thankful is something we should be teaching our children from a young age. Beginning with something as simple as saying, “Thank you.” 

In my workbook which accompanies my novel, Grounded, I  created a section on Gratitude.  Although the novel is about polio,  of course, one was thankful if they did not contact it or were able to recover from it, similar to the feelings we have had towards  COVID these last years during the pandemic. But I wanted the children to think about gratitude as something to consider every day, not just realize how we should have had more appreciation for something we value until we lose it. The discussions questions and activities are listed below.

What is gratitude? What does it mean to be grateful? How can you show gratitude?

How does being grateful or having gratitude change your personality and how others react to you?

Look for ways to be grateful at home, at school, outdoors, looking after your pet, spending time with a senior etc.

Keep a journal for 7 days. Each day, write down one thing you are grateful for and explain why.

Being grateful is a choice. It is something you decide/ choose to be even though it is not easy.

Did you ever choose to be thankful when you really felt like being grumpy instead? Explain.

In my activity book, there are many other good activities to talk about, not just in a classroom setting but over the dinner table or in a round table social setting eg. Try one of these.

The only way to make a friend is to be one. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

A dream without action is just a dream. Shirley Hartung

My workbook is available both with and without the novel Grounded  Go to . www.authorsmhartung.com

Comparison of the Polio and COVID-19 Return to School Dilemma

With the summer quickly moving towards fall, it would normally be the time of year that kids would be getting excited about seeing their friends again, getting school supplies, and maybe purchasing a new outfit to wear the first day back. Along with the anticipation and excitement, it is normal for children to have some apprehension, too. Who will be their new teacher, will they get to be in the same class as their friends, will they be able to do well.

This year, COVID-19 has added new and more worrisome stress for both parents and children, not to mention school staff. Parents wonder if it is safe to send their children back to school, yet know their children have already missed so much already, they need and want to get back. The decision is a tough one and one that parents have to make very soon.

Ironically, this is not the first time parents have had this important decision to make. See Coronavirus lessons from when the 1937 polio epidemic delayed school reopenings | The Conversation for the challenges of that previous epidemic.

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