Today, Yoko Kawashima Watkins, author of So Far From the Bamboo Grove came to our school and spoke to the students about her life and her novel. Yoko has come to our school for decades, and her presentation often circles around the importance of giving thanks.
“Be grateful that you were born,” she repeats to the children. “Your parents gave you the greatest gift of all. The gift of life.”
This truly is the greatest gift of all. Throughout the day, Yoko listed many other things that she is grateful for; her education, being humble, being able to appreciate the little things in life.
After her presentation, I ask the kids to compose a note of thanks. For many of the students, this is the first or second time that they have been asked to write a true thank you letter. I provide them with a template, and remind them to check their work for spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Some of their notes were truly moving, and many kids used my sentence starters. At the end of the day, I was struck by how many kids did not know how to express their gratitude, and how this simple act of kindness is falling out of favor.
So, here I am, offering thanks to my parents for giving me the greatest gift of all, and for helping me to enjoy it to the fullest.