by Sheetal Makhan / AYC
Following the act of gratitude shown by my Pre-Intermediate class towards Abdul (our friendly security and door attendant), I felt extremely inspired to start a wave of gratitude. For many years, I have kept a “Gratitude Journal” where at the end of every day, I list everything I am grateful for – from my health, to my two healthy, loving and supportive parents, a job that I love, supportive colleagues…and the list just goes on and on. I have even written that I was grateful for the petrol attendant for serving me with such a beautiful smile and graceful attitude. My point is that you can be grateful for ANYTHING. Even people who feel as though they have hit rock bottom have something to say “thank you” for. Even if it’s just for a meal, or the hot water they showered in.
Each one of us says “Thank You” on a daily basis, but what do we really mean by it and do we honestly “feel” it? Even though I write a daily gratitude list, in an effort to start a trend amongst those close to me, I started “Thankful Thursday” where we list what we were grateful for that particular week.
On Thursday, 23 May I was very excited to have the lecture slot available where I could give a presentation titled “Develop an Attitude of Gratitude”. My wish is for it to spread like wildfire. Why? Because I would love others to feel as elated as I do when I receive the many gifts of blessings that are given to me…just by being aware of everything around me and by being grateful.
I shared two very personal stories. Firstly, my months of being unemployed which led me to a place that had no colour. I felt like the world was against me. It was difficult to smile. I felt rejected. It was then, at my lowest, that I resumed my Gratitude Journal and I started listing everything I was thankful for. Suddenly, amazing opportunities started to arise. From waking up with no emotions, I now wake up in the morning exuberant and ready to start my day with people who I care so much for – my colleagues and most importantly, my students!
The second, was a very tough period for my family. Earlier this year, my mum was in a critical state in ICU. This led to our family bonds being reinforced and confirmed. Under the care of top doctors, many prayers and family love, my mother pulled through and she is doing very well. Life lesson? It’s not a cliché that life is short. Say what is in your heart. Now. Today. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
A few students came to speak to me after my lecture and expressed that they feel like their eyes are now open. So many of our students stress themselves out because they feel “stuck” and making zero progress. My message: “Nothing very good and nothing very bad will last for very long.” It’s also human nature to live either in the past – with regrets and despair or in the future – with unrealistic expectations. By doing either of these, we neglect to see what is right in front of us.
I sincerely hope that a spark was created amongst at least a handful of students. I invite YOU to begin developing an Attitude of Gratitude today..!
Lectures are a big component of our Academic Year English 30 programme!