I believe this is the third or maybe fourth year that we have posted this story. The fifth grade student who orchestrated this scene below is now a senior in high school. You may have read this before, but we can never be reminded enough about the simple beauty of practicing gratitude.
“Thank you very much, thank you. Thank you very, very much.”
Those words were sung by the enthusiastic students at a recent assembly held at a local elementary school. The applause and appreciation were for the school’s longtime janitor.
At the assembly, a fifth grade student and the art teacher requested that the janitor come to the front of the room. I watched as this humble, gentle man, caught off guard by the request and the cheers from the students, was asked to remove his ball cap, which was replaced with a crown made of decorated construction paper. He was instructed to take a seat on a “throne,” reserved just for him.
He sat on his “throne” as poised and calm as anyone I have ever seen-looking out at all the children, teachers, and parents with complete admiration and appreciation for each and every one of them. There we stood, his audience, appreciating him, honoring him, & thanking him.
I see this man every morning, greeting the children as they arrive with a “Hey, you, how are you?” “Good morning!” or “Have a great day!”
Then he always turns to me and says “That’s why I do this, you know-those kids. It’s important they have a clean place to go to school and learn.” Maybe that’s why the kids wanted to appreciate him, because they can feel his heart in his work and in his commitment to them.
Friday those kids practiced the art of gratitude. They took the time to notice and appreciate a special person in their lives.
So the next time you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, find your child or another family member and say “Thank you for being you – just the way you are.”
Living our values, whether it be gratitude, respect, integrity, kindness or whatever rings most important to you, takes intention, commitment and practice.
As always, feel free to share ways that you have practiced living your values in your life.