As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many of us are stopping to consider what we are grateful for this year. Facebook status updates and tweets abound, you may even find yourself going around the table at a “Friendsgiving” celebration stating what you are most grateful for. I fall in the camp of those who wish that we all expressed our gratitude more frequently, after all, it is good for the heart according to a recent study.
As I reflect on the past year of my own life, I know that I have much to be grateful for. Friendship, family, learning from failure, adapting to changing situations, and the opportunity to do meaningful work all come to mind.
Yet if I were to narrow down what I am most grateful for within the realm of work, it would be simple — the ability to be in classrooms across North Carolina.
This year, we have learned many vital lessons from our students and teachers whether through public policy bootcamps or school visits.
I recently found myself in a place of immense gratitude toward the community that supports EdNC due to the ability to spend a Friday afternoon with the fourth graders of Exploris School, along with their teachers, parents, and administrators. The kids were celebrating the conclusion of their Food Heroes Series where they explored the local food system through site visits and issue exploration. They also met and interviewed local leaders within the movement. (Full disclosure: I was honored and humbled to be among those interviewed through my work with the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation.)
The students made us all smile and laugh with parody songs. They inspired us through their own commitment to action — for one thing, I teared up when they stated that they were going to join the Army of Jamies.
But most of all they reminded us all that our future belongs to them. Energetic, inspiring, humorous fourth graders who are not burdened with cynicism. And for that I will be forever grateful.