Back To School With Gratitude


Back To School With GratitudeIt’s the first day of school, and today, I am thankful:

For the teachers who will be pouring into these kiddos every day; 

For the school administrators and custodians and PTA parents who keep the place running;

For school security officers who are revamping their techniques to keep our schools safe;

For continuing education for staff that helps every student thrive;

For dedicated counselors who are managing all the IEPs and 504 plans to set students up for success in spite of challenging circumstances;

For school board members who think on the macro scale, and for teacher’s aides who work in the micro;

For teacher’s spouses who stay up late with them cutting out lesson materials; 

For cafeteria managers who pore over allergy lists trying to find a way to feed every child; 

For school maintenance directors who spent the last few weeks tuning up air conditioning units and replacing old ceiling tiles and installing new locks on classroom doors.

But you know, I’m also thankful for the hard things, because truth be told, that’s where the greatest lessons are held:

For late buses that teach us patience;

For schedule faux pas that teach us to be flexible;

For middle school drama that teaches us what’s really important;

For ridiculously long car rider lines that give me a quick afternoon nap or chance to catch up on my book;

For teachers we don’t necessarily click with to teach us respect even when we don’t like the person in charge;

For difficult people – students and adults alike – that teach us to see others’ humanity and show the same grace we wish to be shown.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to walk through these scenarios with my kids to help them see the beauty even in the pain, and for the kind, gentle people who help us along the way:

For teachers who thoughtfully reply to my numerous e-mails and answer every question;

For counselors who pay attention, see the unseen, and meet invisible needs;

For therapists who help students (and their parents!) cope with transition, stress, and anxiety;

For principals who really listen, take students seriously, and look at things from every angle to provide the best possible learning environment;

For cafeteria staff who patiently teach kindergarteners how to buy their lunches, remember kids’ names, and wink at them when they try to buy ice cream every day;

For volunteers who come in early to tutor kids;

For ESL teachers who teach so much more than language, and who advocate for their students at every turn;

For special education teachers and assistants who work tirelessly to provide gracious and challenging learning environments for students across an unimaginable spectrum of needs;

For bus drivers who put mustaches on their buses to make kids laugh and feel welcome, pass out DumDums for no reason at all, and remind our forgetful kids to get off the bus when they didn’t notice this was their stop;

For the other moms also in their pajamas and house shoes walking into the office to sign in their tardy kids; y’all are my people.

This year, we have so much for which to be thankful. Good and bad alike, it’s all an opportunity to learn, to grow, to help someone else, and yes, to be grateful. I’m here with you, friend…

…Wearing my pajamas.

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Mary Beth Unthank
Knoxville born and bred, my love for this area is deep and true! I'm a working-turned-stay-at-home mom to 4 kiddos from elementary to high school. My husband and I live in Knoxville where we both lead nonprofit organizations and are trying to become Love in our community. I love watching my kids learn something new, cooking for other people (but not for myself), and telling myself I'm a #fitmom when I go to the gym like once a month. I'm a bottle-feeding, disposable diapering, public-schooling (other than the time I homeschooled for a minute) mom with the stereotypical chill attitude of moms with large(r) broods. I love meeting new people, but I talk way too much and laugh when I'm uncomfortable. If you don't mind long stories and bad jokes, we are sure to be friends! Follow my family adventures on my blog Unthank You Very Much


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