The Slice of Life Challenge is upon us, where we write, once a day, for 31 days. My hope, not to totally bore you, to add a little humor to your daily life, and to continue on my journey as a marginal writer!

I’m currently reading the book, Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords for Success, by Mike Krzyzewski, the head men’s basketball coach for Duke University. The book is centered around keywords he feels are needed for success in life, as well as basketball. It’s something I’ve brought in a read a couple of times to my 8th graders because much of what he says can about life can be transferred to the life of a teenager. It’s a really great book for me because while the chapters are short, the stories and meaning behind the word is quite powerful.

So, I’ll be following that format with some of my Slice of Life posts, and I’ll start with gratitude. I start each school year out with this quote: “Carry an attitude of gratitude everywhere you go.” I’m not sure where I picked this up, but it’s stuck with me all of my years of teaching. The students and I discuss what is gratitude, how do we show it, when can we show it, and it leads to some great sharing. A student talked about how she’s grateful that her parents are willing to take her all over the countryside, traveling to volleyball tournaments. Another shared how he was grateful where they lived, and that he had the opportunity to show cattle at the fair. One student shared privately that she was grateful to her grandparents because when her parents had issues, her grandparents stepped in help raise her. We always start the year right, thinking about those people with whom we need to say “thank you” for their efforts in our lives.

So, what are you grateful for? Me? I’m grateful to my wife for standing by me as I get caught up in stupid things of life. Teaching, coaching, parenting, just being a man, all of which I know can lead me down dark places. She’s always been there to pull me back out. I’m grateful to my parents for showing me that you raise a family on a single salary, save a little money, and enjoy retirement to its fullest. We were never rich, but we never wanted for anything and took some amazing vacations: packed station wagon, no AC, and open road!  I’m grateful to my in-laws and wife’s family for showing me that a quiet life is good, but sometimes, loud and boisterous isn’t all bad either. The first time I met my wife’s cousin, I went for the handshake, and got the hug. At that point, I wasn’t a hugger. It’s still gets a good laugh all these years later! 🙂  And I’m grateful for those who I spent the last 18 years of my life teaching with here at school. I work with an incredible staff of people and as a group, I’ve never seen a group this dedicated to students. We are truly a family, laugh and cry, celebrating and mourning, and in the end supporting each other.

So, grateful is my first slice! Here’s to 30 more! 🙂