Two different times today the idea of positive psychology cropped up in my life. The first was during a conversation I had with Lorraine Widmer, who is running Grapes + Gratitude, about writing gratitude letters. The second was while listening to a What’s Your Grief‘s podcast episode titled Positive Psychology, Grief and PERMA, which talks about Martin Seligman’s book, Flourish. I definitely will be writing about this whole idea, but I’m not quite there yet. Below is a blog post I wrote back in October 2016. Be sure to check out the school picture of me from grade 6!
For World Suicide Awareness Day, I wrote a blog post called Flourish After Suicide specifically to share Martin Seligman’s book Flourish. I felt one of the best ways I could honor the memory of my dad was by sharing how I incorporate well-being and self-care into my life. One of the exercises Dr. Seligman talks about in his book is discussing or writing about what went well each day, which I have been trying to for myself, with my family and with my grade 1 students. Another well being exercise he suggests is a gratitude visit. Below is an email I recently sent out with a subject line that read 1993.
So… I’m reading Flourish by Martin Seligman. It’s a book my principal gave me before the start of the school year about positive psychology and well-being. One of the exercises they discuss is a “gratitude visit”. Technically, the gratitude visit is about writing a letter to someone in your life that you are grateful for. This is my shortish email because, in all honesty, I’m only guessing I have the right person. I think you are the Mr. T who taught grade 6 at Monterey during the 92/93 school year.
Dear Mr. T,
My name is Kristy Wolfe, but you would have known me as Kristy Morgan. I was in your grade 6 class at Monterey. Every time I have ever been asked who I am grateful for your name always pops into my mind first, albeit spelled differently every time!
You not only impacted my life as a learner way back in grade 6, you have hugely impacted my life as a teacher. I believe I am the teacher I am today because of the experiences I had with you. Your humour, positive attitude, and commitment to student participation in learning continue to impact me to this day. That year in grade 6 our class created a city that landed us on TV, saw Jurrasic Park in theatre (at night!), and were able to make choices about our learning through a number of other projects. I recall doing projects on ESP (extra sensory perception) and on Fiji. I have not been to Fiji yet but I did teach in Uganda. And no I haven’t found my sixth sense yet! 😉
One of my roles in the school where I teach is technology support for teachers, which makes me think of the technology you had in our class. I don’t even know what it was! It was like a mix between a record and a CD, but it seems like you have continued to expose your students to new technology and I plan to take a look through the resources on your blog. Which is how I found you. Actually, when I first googled your name I came across an article in the Times Colonist about reading achievement with a grade 4 class you had.
I am grateful for you and I thought it was about time you knew!
Thank you for what you do for kids (and adults) every single day.
PS Please let me know if I had the right person or if I should continue my search!
Here are a couple of the things Mr. T wrote back to me:
“Wow – what can I say… you didn’t make my day, you made my year!! 🙂 Thanks so much for your wonderful message!”
“This is my 39th year teaching full time, and I guess I’m supposed to stop soon – but I’m still having too much fun, still learning and still feel I have something to give.”
“BTW, I think maybe we used HyperCard for the Mac way back in 1993.”
“It mean a lot to me that you reached to share your gratitude. Thank you again.”
My heart was so full when he wrote back! And I was inspired by him all over again. I plan to try and catch up with him the next time I am in Victoria.
Who are you grateful for? Have you told them?