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One of the things I love most about teaching at St. Benedict Classical Academy is how we as teachers are given the opportunity to teach the whole child – heart, mind, and soul. I love teaching all the class subjects, but find that Religion always brings such deep and insightful discussions. One of the first chapters in our Religion textbook for third grade is focused on describing who God is and what He has done for us. As a class we discuss how God is the Creator and everything we have comes from Him. We also talk about how our life is a gift from God. At the start of every Religion class, my students and I pray and thank God for the many blessings He has given us. The students always love this time of prayer. Although we pray many times throughout the day, most of the time we recite memorized prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Table Blessing, etc). It is through this spontaneous prayer of gratitude that we practice talking to God on a personal level.

The SBCA virtue for the month of November is Gratitude. Our Core Virtues character-based curriculum defines gratitude as “thankfulness for the gift of life and the gifts in life.” I shared this with my students when talking about our virtue of the month. Having learned what we have in Religion class and praying to God in thanksgiving daily, this was an easier virtue to teach and go over together. We spoke about how even moments of weakness or mistakes can be something to be grateful for because they can help us grow in virtue and learn. This month, the month of Gratitude, I asked my students to write down some of the things that they were grateful for, and they wrote:

  • I am grateful for all of the people and things God has put in my life.
  • I am grateful for my family and pets, the trees in my yard, SBCA, Mr. Boren, my teachers, my class, and my friends. 
  • I am thankful for the birth of Jesus at Christmas, family, dogs, friends, and life. 
  • I am thankful for my friends and family, my cats, my teachers, and my home. 
  • I am thankful for my family, friends, school, teachers, being born, my health, and the knowledge God has given me. 
  • I am thankful for the Mass and for God. 
  • I am thankful for God helping me in my life, for St. Maximilian Kolbe, and for my family. 

St. Ambrose says, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” Let us all live out the virtue of gratitude as best as we can in our lives, especially over the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.

AUTHOR: Finlay Cushen, Grade Three Teacher

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