Gratitude - a strong feeling of appreciation to someone for what that person has done for you.
Appreciation - the act of recognizing someone's worth as a person.
Last Friday my school administration showed a little gratitude toward the faculty and staff at my school. They hired a food truck called the Java Dawg to come to our campus for the morning just for us. As the name implies the heart of their business is specialty beverages. We each received a card good for the specialty drink of our choice. I got a mocha coffee. It was very good. A hot cocoa with caffeine is a reasonable description. At 8:00 AM it was a great choice. I had already had a cup of regular coffee, so this sweet one hit the spot. I would like to say thank you to the administrators for this expression of appreciation. While They did not have to do it, I am glad they did.
It did make me think a bit. When was the last time I deliberately showed gratitude to someone for what they had done or even for who they are? I decided to explore a little, so I looked up antonyms of thankful. I found the expected words like: hatred, distain, and dislike but was a little surprised to see apathy and indifference. After pondering this, briefly, I think I see the point. I would like to be able to say that I don't hate anybody. That I don't even dislike anyone that I know. Not that I am best buddies with all my colleagues, but I respect them as people and educators. And I am not best buddies with my students, but I like to think I respect them for the people they are and for the work they do in my class. The problem comes with that word apathy. We get so busy with our jobs and lives that we just don't take the time or make the effort to let people know that we appreciate them. It is not easy to do and can come across as self serving or insincere.
If there is any week in the calendar when we should be willing to express gratitude, this is it. And it doesn't even have to be for any thing in particular. Blanket thank yous are usually ineffective simply because they are not individualized. Thanks is best expressed one on one. That being said, since I have had several thousand students over the years, a blanket expression must suffice. To all those students who took a class from me, thank you. Without you I would not have had a job, a career, or an opportunity to impact others. Thank you to the parents who entrusted their children to me. And thank you to the administrators who took a chance and hired me.