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A Prayer of Thanksgiving: Finding Gratitude in Our Daily Lives

By Mary Grace O'Shea, ACE 28 (Denver)

The Denver ACE Community

Once a week, our fourth-grade class celebrates the people, places, or events for which we are thankful. Oftentimes on these days, we hear of the gratitude for student friendships, cousins who live across the country, and the magnificent mountains that we are so blessed to see every day. Recently, I had a student volunteer an answer and say, “Miss, I am just so thankful for life. Life is crazy!” If you know me, you know this made me tear up, and this student received many claps from other appreciative fourth graders. It inspired us all to work on a Thanksgiving Journal over the course of November. What are we thankful for? Parts of our faith? A family member? A food? A place we’ve visited? We are encouraging the search for gratitude in all places - not simply the most obvious. It has been such a gift to witness.

Gratitude Prayers from my 4th graders!

In my own search for gratitude, I tend to find it on the drive to school in the early mornings. Colorado has a particular way of never allowing you to forget the true beauty that comes from this world of ours (mountains and 300 days of sunshine per year may contribute). I know that many teachers agree that there is something special about the morning commute – sipping fresh coffee, listening to music (for many of my roommates and me, most recently, it has been the album Stick Season by Noah Kahan. You should listen.), and enjoying the silence before a day full of joy, kid humor, and sensory overload. For me, it is a time to notice the magnificence of the place where we live, and one of the best times to sit and give so much thanks for it all.

Contemplation of the morning commute

This year, I am especially thankful for the gift of our community in Denver. We are blessed to live in a beautiful neighborhood, and our house is always full of constant laughter and incredible people. ACE has taught me many things, one of them being the immeasurable value of time. It is almost impossible for me to believe that we are heading into the holiday season, and that us ACE 28s will soon be almost halfway through our second year of teaching. I am deeply grateful for the community we have been given and built in our homes, schools, and cohorts. I hope that everyone has a beautiful Thanksgiving spent with those whom they love most. As a wise fourth grader in Colorado said, we have so much to be thankful for because “life is crazy!”

4th Grade Class Gratitude Prayer