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On Celebrating


Many of us are great at celebrating birthdays and special occasions—retirements and babies and promotions and graduations.

We offer cards and cakes and candles and sentiments of love and appreciation. We bring flowers and balloons. We sing. We laugh.

But how often do we offer a genuine celebration for the not-so-momentous occasions?

The quiet moments that mark the passing of time? Celebrations don’t always have to be splashy and include cake (although a random cake on a Tuesday is never a bad thing). I think celebration can look like the clinking toast of your morning coffee mugs and a hearty “hello” to the day ahead. Celebration can be a tradition of “Taco Tuesdays.” Celebration can mean a trip to the ice cream shop to celebrate the end of another week successfully… well, just gotten through.

Celebration can be putting on lipstick for no reason at all.

Celebration can be cuddling with your loved ones on the couch and watching tv together. Celebration can be unexpected flowers to brighten someone’s day. Celebration can be remembering your co-worker’s favorite drink and bringing it to him. Celebration can be the words of love and gratitude coming out of your mouth. Celebration can be a hug. Celebration can come from saying YES to dessert before dinner or NO to the dreaded evening bath. Celebration can be making the choice to step outside and feel the warm sun rather than stay shuttered inside with your thoughts.

There are opportunities for celebration everywhere, every day.

I understand that when life is on our side, when things are “in order”—whether it’s our health, our family, our jobs, our relationships—in those moments it is an easier task to find ways to incorporate celebration into our day to day. But when things are hard, when we’re struggling with loss, financial strains, anxiety, uncertainty—in those moments it can be tempting to write off celebration as something to be done in “better” times. But I think it’s actually in those moments that opportunities for celebration are vital—even if it’s just remembering to be grateful for the breath that you are taking in, right now. To me, celebration can be as simple (and hard) as saying YES and THANK YOU to this life, to this day, to this precise moment.

As educators, I believe that we’re not just teaching our students skills to help them be successful at the next point in their academic journey, or skills that will help them be effective in their chosen profession; we’re also teaching them how to view life.

And this, in my opinion, is equally important. Through our own actions and outlook, we’re modeling for them a possible lens with which to view their lives. How beautiful if we can show them a lens framed in gratitude, one that seeks things to celebrate in every day.

So, look around you. What can you celebrate today? What can you help your students celebrate?

For breakfast this morning I had an extra large cup of steaming coffee (and celebrated the invention of coffee), along with some Halloween candy.

Author Profile: @erikap

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