During the month of November, the Cornerstone Community is concentrating on gratitude. It’s been shown that expressing gratitude has a wealth of benefits…the mere act of stating what you’re grateful for can:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve sleep
  • Calm anxious thoughts
  • Increase compassion
  • Improve relationships
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • And MORE!

Cornerstone staff are conducting a “gratitude challenge” throughout the month. Every Monday, a new weekly challenge goes out via email, with an activity for each day. Cornerstone students are learning about the importance of gratitude, and why a grateful heart is important for a complete life. We’re sharing the weekly challenges and what we’re learning on social media, asking the entire Cornerstone Community to join us.

We had the opportunity to meet via Zoom with several 3rd grade students from the Jefferson-Douglass Academy who shared the things for which they are grateful.  Here are just a few:

  • Maliyah is grateful for her teachers, Ms. Messana and Ms. T.
  • Kareem is grateful for his family and his new glasses
  • Kalya is grateful for her auntie and for unicorns
  • Yoshua is grateful for TV, science, pandas, and dinosaurs

As you can see, despite the challenges everyone is encountering these days, these young people have discovered that they still have much for which to be grateful.  We shared with them that we have been reading about gratitude, and that a great deal of what we’ve read tells us that gratitude makes life better (this Forbes.com article in particular).

So, we asked them, “Why or how does being grateful make life better?” and the answers were profound:

  • Journey: “Being grateful makes you happier about the things that go right, and you see that you’re fortunate to have what you have.”
  • Conner: “Even when things don’t go our way, we can find ways to smile and laugh.”
  • Nailah: “Saying ‘thank you’ makes other people feel good when they know we appreciate them. Also, when you have a bad day, being thankful can make things better.”
  • Dilon: “COVID makes it harder to appreciate stuff, but you still have to find things to be grateful for and you can look forward to when we can all be together again.”

We should all follow the lead of our 3rd graders and find something, or indeed, many things, for which to be thankful every day.  Gratitude is a choice, and a choice that makes life infinitely better.