There is a need within each of us that is often overlooked in the day to day hustle and bustle of our lives. Overlooking this need can have such a major impact on us all. Indeed, when we don’t tend to this need, we often feel the energy drain from our schools, our spirits, and our progress. One of the most important things we can do for each other, and ourselves, is to find ways to develop a state of peace, of happiness.
To create moments of joy.
Here are a few ways we try to do that in my school:
We notice kindness.
Our students do this by leaving these sticky notes on a bulletin board in our main hall. They let everyone know about an act of kindness they witnessed. Raising awareness fuels others to want to participate, notice, and be recognized! We purposely highlight kindness on a special, physical display reserved only for that…right in the center of the building. The staff notices kindness by emailing Thankful Thursdays (a little like a “Friday Follow”– but just for us)! We give a shout out to those whom we appreciate and want to thank for a specific act. Purposeful and Simple. Another way is to give each other a special note, hole-punched-to place on our “Blessing Rings”. We each have one, and we let each other know when they have been a blessing to us!
We celebrate each other’s successes.
We do this by having our weekly assemblies, where we recognize our students for many different accomplishment, including extracurricular, or having GRIT, or exceeding a standard:
We sing, we dance, we shake pompoms. We have a song we play sometimes called “Everybody’s So Happy”. You can’t help but smile during this brief but beneficial time when we all gather together to be joyful.
We celebrate each other.
And we celebrate our parents:
By taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate the time and efforts of all our stakeholders, we create moments of joy which, over time, create a culture of joyful giving. It helps make those “extra duties” seem more like “extra opportunities to give”. Extra opportunities to spread a little joy to so many other lives.
We make special time for each other.
It might be our counselor, who every month invites a different class in the building to have daily lunch with her (5-6 kids per day). Through this activity, she is building relationships and creating opportunity for future dialogue should a student need to talk through something. Paving the way for students to seek out help when needed and creating moments of joy while doing it!
It might be “us”, having another of our monthly lunches, this time Italian!
This gift of special time we give each other monthly. A lot of love and care goes into feeding others; this type of welcoming and joyful activity just makes us feel good. The day is full of high spirits and we like to share the recipes we’ve used to create a certain dish. We are building community and taking time to create something good for one another. Food is a universal “welcome” sign.
We all pitch in.
Many times, I have left something in the copy room to be cut, or copied, or laminated, and return later to find someone has already done it for me. No name or “claim to fame”, just a job complete. It’s wonderful when that happens! I have returned the favor and it just makes me feel good to do something for someone who is likely running short on time. Teamwork builds many moments of joy.
We share what our students are doing with other faculty.
Many times, teachers will send students up to the office to share their great work with whoever is there! They return to the classroom smiling from ear to ear because someone took the time to give them a pat on the back and a kind word. By modeling this, our students learn the value of acknowledging the gifts in others and they begin to compliment each other on work they are doing in class. Compliments are contagious.
Finally, we make sure that we never forget the joy that comes from just being goofy.
Creating moments of joy, even small ones, is a way to build a larger feeling of happiness throughout the organization, which fuels our day to day activities. It is a place where students, staff, and parents want to be. And when you want to be somewhere, you approach each task with a vibrant energy and peaceful, happy spirit.
How do you spread moments of joy in your school? I’d love to share ideas as we continue to seek ways to engage all our stakeholders in the joy of learning and living. Thanks to my principal, students, parents and school team for filling the days with moments of joy. .