December 12th, 2016
By Karly Noel, RedRover Director of Education and Outreach
Have you ever noticed that when you think about something often enough, you start seeing examples of it everywhere? For instance, when I was trying to decide if I should sell my old red Honda Accord, I saw that car everywhere I went…or when I was pregnant and it seemed like the only people out and about were mothers with their young babies.
RedRover is celebrating gratitude and generosity this holiday season, and I’m seeing gratitude everywhere. It seems spending time reflecting about what I am grateful for has made me more able to see gratitude in other places – and it has made me happier because of it.
RedRover was recently invited to participate in the UCD MIND Institute’s “Thank you party” that they throw each year to thank the children and families they’ve work with on research studies throughout the year. What an amazing event. The halls were bursting with families chatting and participating in the fun. These adults and children generously donated their time to participate in research and were now coming together because of it. I must have heard “we are just so thankful that…” about 20 times, from different people throughout the day.
I felt grateful to participate by reading to children books from the RedRover Readers program. Here I am in the photo reading and asking the children questions about how they think the boy and the dog might be feeling on that page in the book. Several of the children there were autistic and they, their siblings or both had participated in autism research studies throughout the year. The book that I chose to read was called Max Talks to Me. I chose this book because there are emotions discussed on almost every page. Identifying those emotions and practicing what humans and animals look like when they are feeling those emotions with the children was gratifying. I am thankful for the experience and grateful I work closely with the RedRover Readers program that help children better understand the emotions of others and practice taking others’ perspectives.
When I’m paying more attention to others’ feelings and perspectives, I notice I’m more curious rather than judgmental, more open rather than defensive of my opinions. When I spend time with children and discuss emotions, I end up feeling happier and more energized, more generous and more grateful.
I’d love to know: What energizes and inspires gratitude in you?