Feeling a little low? Need your spirits lifted? Just ask a group of first graders what they are thankful for. You will smile, laugh, and maybe even cry…guaranteed! And their answers just might surprise you.
Since it is close to Thanksgiving, I chose to do some silly turkey activities in music class last week. We used our voices by following changing lines to help Mr. Turkey escape from the farmer. Then we sang “Super Turkey!” It’s a riot. I’m not sure who likes it more, me or the kids.
After all the silliness, I introduced a sweet song called, “Let’s Be Thankful.” The tune is “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and the words talk about friends, family, food, and being glad. Another plus, the song also has accompanying sign language.
Before singing the song, I asked the kids what they were thankful for. Their little hands shot up in the air, ready to share. Calling on them one at a time, I wrote their answers on the Smartboard. The list looked something like this:
• My mom and dad
• Dogs and cats
• The whole world
• All the people
• My games
• Having a safe home
One little boy said what sounded like, “My wife.” I’m sure my facial expression showed confusion, so he said it again. Thankfully I realized he was actually saying, “My life.” Sweet baby still has a little trouble pronouncing certain letters.
The board was filling up quickly, but there were still hands in the air. And then it happened. I called on one sweet boy, “What are you thankful for?” With the biggest smile, he says, “I’m thankful for you, Mrs. Morris.” “That’s what I was going to say,” chimes in the little girl sitting behind him.
Needless to say, I immediately choked up. Taking a few deep breaths to help hold back my tears, I added my name to their list. “I’m thankful for you guys, too.“ I smiled as I wrote the word “students” on the board. Their faces beamed.
Moments like these help me come back to school each day. Some days I’m so tired, lacking in energy and motivation. Thoughts turn to how much longer I can continue this routine. But then there’s a precious reminder that what I do matters and I feel a push that says, “Keep going.”
So, what am I thankful for? So many things. I need to make my own list! Today it would begin with this:
• Kind words from a first grader
• Time to rest and refuel next week because it’s Thanksgiving!
What about you? What are you thankful for today?