President's Blog, Behind the Shield: A Season of Gratitude
It was a Thursday evening after another day at Benilde-St. Margaret’s. As I opened the door to my house, the usual daily greetings followed. Our tiny dog welcomed me in, showing her affection and coercing me to give her yet another belly rub. One of my daughters was already at the dance studio while the other appeared, throwing her little arms around me for a big hug. My wife was somewhere in the house keeping everything together yet again for our family. After putting down my briefcase and taking off my jacket, my son, a seventh grader at BSM, came into the room and asked me to buy him a new notebook. His school supplies were fully stocked, so I asked why another was necessary. He said he was planning to start a gratitude journal.
The following week I attended a national education conference in the Twin Cities which was coordinated by the Christian Brothers. This is the annual educational experience designed to build effective practices and strengthen the Lasallian community. A few educators from a school in Memphis led a session regarding the teaching of virtues to adolescents. It was a fascinating approach that grabbed the audience’s attention almost immediately. One particular virtue gravitated to the forefront of the conversation -- gratitude. During the discussion it became apparent that the practical application of being grateful has become more challenging as the speed of life accelerates.
Three days later, the entire BSM student body, faculty, staff, and a few parents and friends gathered in the Great Hall for a prayer service. It was a unique interfaith experience where multiple religious leaders from the community offered reflections based on specific readings and songs. The messages centered on building peace as part of our scripture theme, human connectivity, and gratitude. More than 1,100 members of our community heard these important and inspiring messages.
The theme of the Thanksgiving season is all around us, but listening to a message of gratefulness is simply not enough. To fully embrace the season, to actually immerse ourselves in the spirit, we are called to act. What will our gratitude look like this season? How will our actions tell the story? That is up to each of us individually, and sometimes the path is unclear. So, if you are searching for a good place to start, my son’s gratitude journal might be just what you need. This season, we can focus on God’s beautiful creation and the many blessings that surround us so that our outlook on life can be one that reflects Christ’s light.
Wishing you a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving.
Adam Ehrmantraut, EdD