No Thank You

Submitted By:
Pearl Rock Kane, The Klingenstein Center, NY

The Selfish Side of Gratitude by Barbara Ehrenreich
The New York Times, December 31, 2015

The cultivation of gratitude has been hailed as the route to true happiness and the elixir for good health. It's no wonder that a concept backed by such profound promises would make its way into our schools. Of late, "gratitude" has been the subject of an NPR special and featured in celebrated publications such as Time magazine and Scientific American. Researchers who study the science of gratitude claim that developing a gratitude habit not only brings personal joy, but also strengthens the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Advocates recommend incorporating expressions of gratitude into daily life. Keeping a gratitude journal or regularly meditating on gratitude are commonly proposed as ways to make us feel good, but this outcome is precisely what the author of this editorial challenges. Gratitude may create a warm feeling, but it falls short when it fails to involve interaction - communication of loving or caring or taking action. The real challenge of gratitude is finding ways to express debt to those in our lives or the larger community who make our lives better. This quick read is bound to provoke thinking and raise questions worth pondering.

Social-Emotional Learning