By Lory Peroff and Fourth Grade Students
November is a month for gratitude. We often express our thankfulness for people we love or special things we have in our lives. I wondered, in addition to people and things, what else do we have to be thankful for here in our Waikiki school community? What if we stopped to reflect on the dispositions that make us the people we are?
My fourth grade students paused to contemplate and appreciate the habits of mind that our school cultivates and how the HOM help them navigate through these uncertain times. Here are some of their reflections:
“I am thankful for the habit risk taking because risk taking helps me to try my best and not to give up. Risk taking is so helpful when you think you can’t do something or, you feel like you want to give up because risk taking is all about not giving up and trying your best!”
“The mindful habit I like is LISTENING WITH EMPATHY. I like this mindful habit because it’s true, you do need to listen with empathy. For example: if someone is crying at school and you ask them what happened, you have to listen and really understand what happened instead of just thinking of what you’re going to say next. Like instead of listening with empathy you could be waiting for them to stop talking so you can talk about yourself. Instead if you really care, then you should really listen.”
“The habit I am most thankful for? I am most thankful for remaining open to continuous learning. I chose that because I feel like learning is important and kindness is important. If you want to learn new things you need to be open to continuous learning. Also I feel like if someone is taking their time to teach you something, you might as well be open to it. The thing the person is teaching you might be really valuable later. Lastly, learning can be fun, you just need to be open to it. These are the reasons why remaining open to continuous learning is the habit I most thankful for.”
“One reason why I like the mindful habit persistence is never giving up. When I craft, I use it all the time! I don’t want to just give up on something. I want to try, and try again until I make it perfect. The second reason is that it feels good to succeed. ‘If you want to finish something, finish it.’ Even if there are problems. For example: I am making a house. But I am tired of hammering, measuring, glueing and much more. But I can’t just give up. The house is for someone to live so I just have to keep trying no matter what. The last and final reason is to accomplish something someone has never done before. Like the famous astronaut, Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon! I know it took lots of persistence to accomplish it, but he made it! That is one example of persistence. By never giving up and being the first person to do it. Those are the reasons why I think my most thankful mindful habit is persistence.”
“I am most thankful for humor and joy. Humor and joy brings us together and helps us make new friends. Humor and joy helps us be kind and be happy when we’re sad. Humor and joy makes us all happy! That’s why I am grateful for humor and joy.”
Despite the many challenges we are faced with during these unprecedented times, with each passing day I continue to find new blessings to count. Always at the top of the list, is being part of a school community that explicitly teaches and deeply values the Habits of Mind. I am filled with gratitude that our future is the hands of students who embrace the Habits of Mind. Even in these uncertain times, I am certain that the future they will build will be something to be thankful for.
Lory Walker Peroff is a fourth grade teacher at Waikiki Elementary School and a Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow who believes writing is not only enjoyable but essential. She lives in Honolulu with her husband, two energetic daughters, three chickens, two ducks and one peahen. Twitter: @teacherperoff