A message about gratitude, from our Executive Director, Christine Oldfield:

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the past year of lockdowns and social isolation I have been doing a lot of thinking about resilience, the ability of a person to bounce back from adversity. Why is it one person can be stopped in their tracks by a small set back, when another is able to power on even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles? I did not know this answer to this question, so I did a bit of research.  

It seems that there is a strong connection between resilience and gratitude. According to PositivePsychology.com, “Gratitude fosters adaptive coping mechanisms. By managing positive emotions like satisfaction, happiness, and pleasure, gratitude enhances our emotional resilience and builds our inner strength to combat stress”. Turns out being grateful helps us to get back up when we’ve been down.  

Gratitude, the thankful appreciation for what a person has includes both those things that you can hold in your hand as well as those you cannot. People who have gratitude recognise the good things in their lives and understand that part of this goodness comes from something outside of themselves. Because of this, gratitude helps you to connect with your family, friends, your neighbourhood and your community. 

In this past year I have grieved the loss of so many things, the bigger things like the cancellation of camp that my daughters look forward to all year long to the smaller things like going out to coffee with a friend, but this grief as also made me appreciate the things I still have. I have family and friends; I have a home and I have my health. These are things I took for granted before. Having gratitude for these things helps me to deal with our constantly changing reality and uncertain future.  

I hope that in this past year, and the year to come, you get a chance to connect with your 4-H family, a unique family who share similar values and interests. I know 4-H will continue to, ‘look different’ but the value of coming together, the value of learning and sharing hard skills and soft and the opportunity to ‘Learn To Do By Doing’ will help you (volunteers and participants alike), weather this next phase of the pandemic. If you can, I recommend that you take some time to write a note of thanks to someone you appreciate or even just send positive thoughts to those around you. I guarantee it will help you to feel gratitude and embrace the positives too. 

According to the “Greater Good Magazine: Science-based Insights for a Meaningful Life”, one of the top 10 ways to foster gratitude, is to help youth find what matters to them. They explain that “having a sense of purpose in life gives youth a compass for creating a meaningful life”. 4-H Ontario provides an opportunity to explore goals and interests, in a fun and interactive way.  

Together, let’s cultivate our ‘Learn To Do By Doing’ 4-H Ontario motto, and foster some gratitude with an activity! Essential workers are making sure that we have the supplies, healthcare, and necessities we need to keep things moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s send a little thanks their way!  

This activity comes from the Cloverbuds Year Three – Cultural Diversity – Continents unit.  

Create & Send a Postcard to an Essential Worker!  

What you need: 

•            Cardboard or cardstock 

•            Markers, crayons, paint for decorating 

•            Pen, pencil for writing a message 

Writing postcards was an extremely common practice in the 20th century and earlier but with the increasing availability of internet, fewer people are continuing to send them. But, in these times where people can’t get out, sending a postcard to brighten someone’s day and thank them for all the hard work they are doing, can be a great idea!  

Create a postcard with a drawing of your choice on one side and a personalized message on the other side – be sure to leave a spot for a stamp! The drawing can be of anything – the sky is the limit! The message can be to a family member, a friend, your teacher, an essential worker – whoever you think would benefit from getting a small message of gratitude.  

Before you send it, snap a photo and share it with us on social media!