This blog is written as part of the Live Your Legend 7 day writing challenge. They give me a writing prompt, and I try to write something.

So, what do people thank me for? This is a hard one to write. Who wants to go on and on about how wonderful they are and let everyone else on the planet know that the sun shines out their bottom? I am not American. This does not come easily to me.

But, I have committed to writing something every day, so I must continue (you can thank me later – see what I did there?)

Well, I am a teacher. I teach little South American kids. I teach them science. I have been teaching here for four years. Before here, I was back in Scotland teaching big kids science.

Sometimes they say thank you – they say thank you when I give them work to do. They say thank you when I lend them a pencil sharpener. They really say thanks when I let them use my Darth Vader colouring pencils. Yes really, I have Darth Vader colouring pencils.

So, in an interesting way, they thank me for facilitating them in working. They appreciate that I have made it easier for them to learn something. I have never thought of it like that. The children who show the most gratitude, the ones who say thank you every time are the ones who are learning the most. The children with the manners are the ones who will do well.

I suppose that in a way, it takes a lot of self esteem to be able to say to someone thank you. I mentioned that I taught before in a school in Scotland. It was very different to here in South America. The children were poor and from a poor area of Edinburgh. They did not have the self esteem and pride in themselves that the children I teach now do.

Oh, they had a swagger and they demanded with every ounce of their being that we all notice them all the time and we should also notice that they do what they want to, whenever they want to.

And they rarely said thank you for everything.

It was sad. The children who needed what I was giving them the most, could not see that education, not just in academic terms but also in how to treat other people, were the ones who could not be seen to accept it and be grateful for it. If other people saw them thanking a teacher then the others would see that these students were not the bulletproof uncaring independent individuals that they had  to be to survive where they lived.

The difference is stark. The confident children I teach now are able to ask for help and to say thank you when they receive it. They benefit from their own ability to say thank you. Everyday they learn how to interact with adults. They learn how to get what they need, without fighting for it: ask and ye shall receive. And they know that an important part of asking is thanking.

The least well off make themselves worse off by not knowing that asking for help and being grateful for it afterwards is not weakness, but a strength.

It makes me wonder: how often to I ask for help and say thank you to someone who matters?


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