I have been working on this my whole life, it seems. Saying "thank you" is an easy thing to forget. But I have been more intentional with my thanks this month with some pretty cool results:
- Ending each class by saying to students "thanks for your hard work and ideas today." When I first started this, I think they were were confused. Now they say things like"it was a great discussion" or "I can't wait til tomorrow for keep working on this" as they leave class. It feels good to acknowledge their willingness to engage. As I've said before, they don't have to give their attention and effort and we certainly can't force it. So much better for them to participate meaningfully and willingly.
- Thanking my colleagues more often. Not just for lending a pencil or watching my class for a few seconds, but for their ideas. I value them and I have been working hard to let them know.
- More donuts. Bad for the waistline, great for motivation.
None of these were difficult to do, but all of them had an impact. The funny thing is, I think I am more impacted as the giver of thanks than the receivers have been. I have become more aware of those around me - their needs, wants and gifts - for which I am very grateful.