"For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." - Dag Hammarskjold

Sunday, November 24, 2013

the gratitude project assignment :: julia...

Today, I am thrilled to present the first of several essays from Grade 8 students from Broadview Public School here in Ottawa.  I had the pleasure of meeting with Ms. Viner and Ms. Krochmalnek's classes just before our Canadian Thanksgiving, to talk to them about *the gratitude project: dare to be grateful*. (Read more about that here.) Students were then given an assignment to interview a friend or family member about what they were grateful for, and to submit a short essay based on that interview.   I will be publishing a selection of these essays here on the blog over the next couple of weeks.  You will want to read these.  Seriously. These kids rock.

Let's begin with Julia...

Interviewer:  Julia L.
Interviewee: My mother                                                                             
Bio: My mom Mariam, born here in Canada with a French and Lebanese background, is a 43 year old single mother and she is the single most spectacular person I have ever met. She is brave, caring, strong, loving and even though she has been through so much, she always manages to have a smile on her face. I think she is a very interesting person and has lots of great experiences and memories. I love her with all my heart.

Question: What life experience are you most grateful for?


Example 1)

“Being a mother to my spectacular, bright, beautiful children.

I am grateful to have all of them in my life:

Adam - My brilliant, health, strong son. Who loves electronics and designing machines. He is very athletic and loves a good joke.

Julia - My determined, strong and ambitious eldest daughter. She loves animals, especially farm animals and is very busy with sports and music. I love the way she cares so much about others.

Rebecca - My artistic and imaginative youngest child. She loves nature and has a very special connection to the natural world. She is very beautiful and can paint like Vincent van Gogh.”

Example 2+3)

“My travels in Europe and my everlasting friendship:

I went to Belgium for 3 months, spent the winter in Northern Ireland, then went on to Scotland, England and France. I travelled with my best friend Janice from high school. I love history so I went to lots of old war rubble and castles and ancient houses. I met many interesting people just like me, traveling within a budget trying to make some memories. Me and my friend Janice were friends all through high school and after we got back from Europe I moved out to Alberta and we lost touch for 20 years. Now that I'm back here in Ottawa we are just as close as we were before. This just shows we were meant to be friends forever. :)”


To be honest I thought all my mom’s examples would be cool stories from her travels in Europe, but to get that story out of her took a great deal of work. All she wanted her answer to be was motherhood, and her three kids. I chose her because she is a very interesting person so I thought she would give an interesting answer but she was stuck on the one example. She said “I could win all the money in the world, visit the coolest, most beautiful place on earth but nothing could make that first example change.” The life experience she is most grateful for is and will always be, being a mother. Out of every memory, every laugh and every moment she is most grateful for us. Me, my brother and my sister. I was a bit surprised when she told me that considering how stubborn, mischievous and expensive we are ;) 
Her second/third example took a lot of work to get out of her. I thought the fact that she worked all through high school to go on this trip and she actually did it all on her own was very cool. The fact that she went to all these countries so young with just a friend shows her independence and she made lots of good memories while doing it. My favorite part of her response is how she managed to stay friends with Janice for this long. After 18 years of separation they became friends just like that when we moved to Ottawa really shows me how people really can be “Best Friends Forever”.
I connect to this because my biggest fear of high school isn’t the homework, the mean teachers, or the bullies. I’m scared of me and my friends not being friends anymore and I know new is good but sometimes you just want old because sometimes old is better. I don't want to lose my friends and this story of my own mom and her best friend shows me how it is possible to keep your friends, and who knows maybe me and my current best friend will still be friends in 20 years.
Who knows?

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