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Gratitude: Day 3: July 1, 2015



Yesterday, I mentioned a diamond in the rough--there have been so many--yet this child stands out, especially because we spent a summer together in the role of Counselor/Camper.

This child was was so precious, and at 12 years old, would also revert to the behavior of a 3 year-old, with on the floor tantrums and melt-downs, sobbing uncontrollably if something set him off. Today I thought of him and was grateful that he allowed me to solidify my own ritual of morning gratitude. I was in the role of teacher, yet it was he who taught me.

He was a smaller 12 year old, and the others found him vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. And like so many kids, he would try to bluster his way through, puffed up until the group felt antagonized to strike out at him, usually with words, but a few days, there were shoves and fists. On this particular day, Mom was called and shared that his particular struggles were related to unresolved CSA, and that there was counseling but he always shut down. Now, as an adult, I would never tell a child of my experiences, but I never lied when they would confide in me and ask me if I had experienced anything like that. I always answered, "I might know a little bit about what you are talking about," or something of the sort.

This child, love love love him, he was so close to hyperventilating, and it reminded me of my being younger, and doing the same thing, with hives jumping out of my skin--even on my eyeballs one time. Once I got him calmed down enough, he began to talk and say how everything was always so bad in his head, all the thoughts came at him all at once and they were so bad. And I shared with him what I had been taught, that in order to replace bad thoughts, we need good thoughts, that it is too difficult to go to a quiet mind until we have a lot of practice, and so to find good thoughts. He said he didn't have any good thoughts, and so I planted one: When you wake up in the morning, are you usually glad to wake up and have a new day? He decided that usually the chance to play with his friends again, or to see a movie, or to see his mom was enough of a reason to have a good day.

We built on that, and I asked him to say every morning, the first thing when he woke up, "I am grateful to be awake again. I am grateful for another day." By the end of the summer, Diamond was sure to ask me if I'd said my gratitude that morning, and what it was I was grateful for that time unless I asked him first. It became a game to try to catch one another out, yet that game ritualized gratitudes and changed my life. Today, I am so grateful to all the students and children that have taught me. So grateful.

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