Monday, April 2
At a time when the level of economic uncertainty is so high for the vast majority of people, I consciously try to focus on all of the little things that make life really great. For me, this might be enjoying the ride to town with my girls, or taking the time to read something inspirational, or checking out the spring flowers that are surfacing around campus. These are things that I'm thankful for despite sometimes being carried away by all of life's day-to-day pressures and worries.
Another thing that I'm very thankful for is my work. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with students and help them grow their potential. I am thankful for being able to extend opportunities to students that they probably wouldn't have had the chance to experience otherwise.
I think an important part of this work is instilling a sense of gratitude in our students. For some, it's already there. For others, this could be a chance for nurturing and growth. I don't what it is really. It could have to do with certain exposures during our upbringing or it could be a result of our modern, fast-paced society. Either way, I think it's important to take note of all of the awesome things we experience everyday and give thanks. I personally don't think we do this often enough.
I remember what Father John always used to say (a priest from the church where my parents go) - "Have a nice day and don't take it for granted." Simple and sweet but not something that's always easily attainable. Don't take it for granted.
McNair students have access to many resources and opportunities. The truth is, a significant amount of taxpayer money is being funneled into your futures - about $10,000 in fact. This money is being spent to help each of you grow your talents, explore your passions, build your confidence, create relationships that will spur your success. I think we all need to be thankful for that. As I'm working on our grant, I am intimately reminded of just how much is being put toward scholar success. In return, I think it's important that all of our scholars become individuals who can speak up and say "thank you" - a lot! Say thank you to someone who holds open a door, say thank you to a professor who spends an extra five minutes with you to talk, say thank you to your mom for calling to say hi, say thank you to each other for sharing this amazing experience together.
I have to be honest and tell you that through the years, I have been disappointed and saddened by the trend of "entitlement" and lack of gratitude among some. I want to be clear that this isn't about wanting to constantly be hearing "thank you" "thank you" thank you" all of time. Sure, it's nice to be recognized for our efforts, but what I'm getting at is something bigger. It's creating a foundation of gratitude that will not only be present among our group, but will move beyond and travel with each of you in your journey. I feel personally responsible for putting the resources of the McNair program to good use! I also encourage and expect our scholars to take these resources seriously and use them to their fullest extent. Please be an example to others and show your gratitude on a daily basis.
Be thankful for these amazing gifts - big and small - each and every day.