“Whatever you said to Grace has made her distinctly less whiny!” Mrs. Bernadino said about her daughter, a typically privileged high school teen along the Connecticut shoreline. “Strange that she comes home from SAT class and mentions that she’s grateful for all that she has.”
Grace had paid attention to my world map mini-lecture. I tell students to picture being up in the ethers and being told that they would have the life of one of the millions of teens on the planet. I show them the world map with those large mostly impoverished continents of Africa, South America, and Asia along with equally problematic areas of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central America. I also note that plenty of places in the United States also create big problems for 17 year olds. Being born into a family that lives in Southeastern, CT is equivalent to hitting the lottery. Surprising as it may sound, most of the students are paying high attention because they never thought of their life as so fortunate before.
There is a method to my apparent madness when I provide short philosophical talks on such concepts as gratitude during our SAT class. Ungrateful students do not self-study or pay attention as much as grateful students. Ungrateful students are not as anxious or whiny as grateful students. Ungrateful students do not perform as well as grateful students.