We want to shine a spotlight on one our favorite traits, Gratitude! Gratitude gets a lot of attention around Thanksgiving, its in the name! But we also talk about Gratitude during the summer here at Foley. It comes into to play during some of our more spiritual moments, during Saturday Mass and the Non-denominational service.
What is Non-Denom?
Campers who wish for a less religious focus on spirituality can attend non-denom at camp. It occurs at the same time as mass and is a great chance for quiet reflection for the campers. Each non-denom has a theme such as humility, gratitude, grit, or integrity. We open each one with a mindfulness exercise, usually a guided meditation. This meditation introduces the theme first and helps set up what the kids should focus on for the hour.
After a mindfulness moment, we transition into readings. These readings have an underlying message that will also link back to the theme. Different campers volunteer to do these readings, just like at mass. The goal of these readings is to put the overall theme into real world context for the kids. Integrity can be a big idea, but hearing a story about someone doing the right thing against tough odds helps campers realize that they too can show integrity in everyday life. After non-denom readings, the campers are given the opportunity to tell their own stories on “sharing stumps”. This is time where we practice active listening, campers will come up to sit on the stumps and share a story about a time in their life when they demonstrated the theme of the week (like integrity or Gratitude!).
We’d like to share on of our favorite stories about Gratitude that we read with the kids during this time. After the story will be some discussion questions to help contextualize the story. Feel free to use this story withy our family to start the conversion on Gratitude, or feel free to find your own. The most important thing is to just be grateful for the amazing things in each of our lives.
The Black Dot
Narrator: One day a teacher walked into their classroom and had an announcement for the class
Teacher: Everyone get ready, we’re having a surprise test!
Narrator: The students waited for the test to begin. The teacher handed out the test with the questions face down.
Teacher: You may begin.
Narrator: To everyone’s surprise, when they turned the paper over, there were no questions, just a black dot somewhere at the bottom of the page.
Teacher: I want you to write what you see here
Narrator: The students were confused but got started on the task. At the end of class, the teacher collected the papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students.
Narrator: The classroom went silent.
Teacher: I’m not going to grade you on this but I want you to think about something. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot and the same thing happens in our lives. Our life is special, and we always have reasons to celebrate, yet we focus on the dark spots too much sometimes. Things like health issues, disappointments, social life. Dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but the dark spots are the ones that spoil our minds. Look away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you.
- How do you focus on the black spots more than the white of the paper?
- How can we focus more on the white?