This post is inspired by two posts I read recently: Jay Dubois’s post challenging me to write about my #attitudeofgratitude and Tamara Letter’s post, Serving Others Unseen (Tamara is the queen of kindness). I also love the #oneword challenge and enjoy various posts about the one word that will shape the new year. I could not pick one word: instead, my 2018 will be framed by Gratitude and Kindness.
I have had a tumultuous year. I reflect upon the fact that last year, my friends graciously volunteered to buy Christmas presents for me because I could not go to a mall, or a drugstore, or even a grocery store for that matter. My Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) had me down and out for quite some time in 2017. The year started as one of the most personally challenging of my life. I actually didn’t write a #oneword last year as a result. And yet, despite the really rough start, this has been one of the most amazing years as well.
I am grateful for the support of George Couros, Dave and Shellley Burgess, and Erin Casey who helped me to become the author of Social LEADia in June of 2017. Being a part of the Dave Burgess Consulting (DBC) Family has allowed me to get to know other DBC authors who are so very brilliant and inspiring.
I am grateful to Doug Peterson, Paul Paterson, Justin Schleider, Katie Martin, and Stephanie Viveiros, my mother and father-in-law, and my teens for helping me to edit my book when I couldn’t actually look at a screen for more than 30 minutes.
I am amazed by the the accomplishments and the exemplary leadership of the students I feature in the book, as well as the student leaders I continue to meet both in person and online every day.
I have been fortunate enough to belong to several different PLNs again this year, and if at all possible, I feel even more connected to people with whom I mostly collaborate online. Meeting so many of them in person has been so very special, and I hope to meet many more of the educators with whom I regularly interact on social media in 2018.
I owe so much to Sarah Thomas and Jennifer Bond as well as the entire Edumatch family who helped keep me sane when I was home and sadder than I’ve ever been in my life and for the continued support and encouragement of the Edumatch crew. I was able to meet so many of them at ISTE and further connected with Heidi and Toutoule in Vegas for Cue Vegas where I met so many more wonderful people.
The Ed Tech Team (Emily, Jeffrey, Sylvia, Kim, Sandra, Jen, Joanna) have been so amazing to work and learn with and as a result of the Summits, I have met and had the opportunity to get to know some incredible and passionate educators.
My #DigCit PLN (Nancy, Kristen, Marialice, Michael, Jaimie, William) and the many #DigCitSummit leaders and planners are changing what we think of when we talk about digital citizenship.
My GEG Ontario Leaders group (David, Amit, Laura, Larissa, Mike, Marie-Andree) inspire me, as do the planning team for Dig Cit Summit Toronto (Tina, Mark, Andrew, Carlo, Gwynth, and Bessie).
The ONEdSs chat has connected me with an incredible and inspiring group of students who are changing how students connect and converse on Twitter. I am grateful for the leadership and support of Leigh, Brock, Allison, Nicole, and Jay–the adults on the team.
I have never laughed so hard as I have when I share my worst off-tune singing with my Singoff Snapchat crew (Mandy, Tara, Tish, Rodney, Evan, Mandy, and Rachelle) and I am really learning Snapchat as a result of this group!
There are so many teachers in Ontario that are inspiring leaders and thinkers. The #onted PLN (way too many to list), supported to a great extent by Doug Peterson and Stephen Hurley (VoiceEDRadio), is a testament to the fact that we have way more to celebrate in education in our province than to complain about.
I am grateful to be in a job where I can impact as well as learn from so many young people who remind me why I became an educator in the first place, and I am grateful that I am able to be back working full time without feeling too many adverse effects from my MTBI.
I think it is this attitude of gratitude that has really inspired me to promote kindness and generosity towards others. I have always been an altruistic person, but especially this year, I feel like I need to pay my blessings forward.
Students at my school have been performing random acts of kindness for others for their Religion CPTs.
This made my day! Paying it forward. What random act of kindness can you impart on someone today? pic.twitter.com/duy27M6PQZ
— Jennifer Casa-Todd (@JCasaTodd) December 18, 2017
Our school held a school-wide drive for St. Vincent De Paul (a local organization that donates Christmas gifts to the less fortunate).
In our own home, we also sponsored a family with our extended family. My husband bought a pair of jeans for a student in need as well as other necessities. I sought out a family I knew could use some help in our school community and the student’s joy and thanks brightened up my entire holiday. I was so excited to leave a gift card at a local coffee shop for seniors to enjoy, that I forgot to pick up my own coffee. And yesterday, my neighbours were setting out to deliver gifts to a family of 7 children who are refugees from Nigeria.
My youngest daughter took it upon herself to collect money for her class and this week, we went out together so she could buy the items requested by the family. I was so proud of the care she took to choose and wrap each gift.
I am always conflicted about sharing random acts of kindness on social media; good deeds must be done with good intentions, not for attention (author unknown). But sharing these might inspire others to perform a random act of kindness for another and another and another. I know that my own children look to my husband and I as role models.
There is so much good in the world and yet we are so ready and willing to share the negative. What if we took the spirit of giving that envelops us at this time of year and made Random Acts of Kindness and #Gratitude regular habits both online and in person?
Please join me in making #KINDNESS and #GRATITUDE words to live by in 2018.