Our theme in Chapel this month is Gratitude.
A recent article on Harvard Medical School "Healthbeat" site suggests that "gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships."
This month we'll share several stories to help us explore the theme of Gratitude.
The first story we'll share is "Grateful: A Song of Giving and Thanks" by John Buccino.
The world is FULL of SO MANY GREAT THINGS, and so we are grateful (and "GREAT-FULL"!) It helps our hearts grow happy and grateful (great-full) when we take time to NOTICE, NAME, and GIVE THANKS for all the great things in the world!
Next, we'll share the Parable of the Great Pearl, in the traditional Montessori style of Godly Play. This parable invites us ponder the mystery, "What is a treasure?" You can read this Godly Play parable for yourself, and find suggestions for follow-up conversation with your child on this Godly Play Parent Page.
We'll conclude the month with "The Thankful Book" by Todd Parr.
You might like to know that we've started to leave the stories we share each week in Chapel (on the weeks in which our story comes from a book) on a shelf near Ms. Denise's desk in the hallway at SMMS, just in case parents would like to look more closely at these books and discuss them with their children.
Songs & Prayers
This month we're using a fun, lilting song with clapping movements to anchor our practice of NOTICING, NAMING, and GIVING THANKS for the great things in life! We use the basic tune of the song (which you can hear, below) but we change the words to fit the situation as we go along.
For example, we invite each child to name something that they've noticed is great, and we incorporate their suggestions into our song. For example:
Ice Cream is great!
New babies are great!
Hugging is great!
Thanks be to God!
We also take time to affirm that we are grateful for each child, and their unique contributions to our community. For example:
Maddox is great!
CC is great!
Harper is great!
Thanks be to God!
Feel free to sing this song with your child at home, and adapt the words of the song in a way that makes sense for your family. For example, if "Thanks be to God" doesn't make sense within the spiritual framework or vocabulary of your family, you might replace "Thanks be to God" with "Our hearts are glad!" or some other phrase that expresses gratitude in language that is meaningful and appropriate for your family.
Whatever words you choose, I encourage you to find ways in the regular day-to-day life of your family to incorporate practices of NOTICING, NAMING, and GIVING THANKS for all the great things in your life and our world!
My name is Sylvia Miller-Mutia (aka Mother Sylvia), and I am a priest in the Episcopal Church. I am delighted to grow and share spiritual support with the families at St. Mark's Montessori School, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Albuquerque, NM