11 February, 2022


Gratitude – A character trait that sets you apart from others

The first full week in the Senior School has been a busy one, as was to be expected. Academic, pastoral and co-curricular programs are now in full swing, and students are engaged in their existing passions while also stepping out of their comfort zones into something new. So far, staff and students are navigating the new COVID landscape well and there is a sense that we can live with COVID if we all show respect towards each other and the protocols that are in place to protect us.

The Senior School community is grateful to all its members for their willingness to work together and make 2022 operate as smoothly as possible. What stood out for me this week was observing the appreciation shown by many students and staff for the opportunity to be here and to be part of something that will make a significant difference in their lives. So why does this gratitude stand out so obviously?

Psychologists regard gratitude as both a trait and as a state. When an individual practices gratitude as part of their daily life, it is considered to be a character strength. It has been shown, that as a trait, gratitude can be developed with practice and awareness.

Gratitude is also a state of being when a person experiences the rich state of emotion from someone expressing gratitude for them. This state of being grateful is a pleasant experience that has been studied by philosophers since ancient times. As a result individuals who express their gratitude stand out from the crowd.

A range of studies over many years have shown that expressing your thanks can improve your overall sense of wellbeing. Psychologists show that grateful people are more agreeable, more open and less neurotic. They show that gratitude is inversely related to depression and positively to life satisfaction.

If we all look for something each day that we are grateful for and acknowledge this, the relationships through our community will be enhanced. I encourage our students to acknowledge their parents, teachers and peers and show appreciation and grace towards people that do something for them. These acts of gratitude stand out and are stored in the recipient’s subconscious.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Have a wonderful weekend.

Stuart Walls
Head of Senior School