An attitude of gratitude

It is nice to see students back on campus. So far it is just our young women involved in sorority recruitment, but we’ll get the rest of the student body back this weekend.

Want to acknowledge that because we had so many pre-posted blogs over the break and while I was in training, I had not mentioned the tragic fires in Australia or the recent earthquake in Puerto Rico. We have Deac families in both places. Please join me in sending your thoughts and prayers for speedy ends to these disasters and the safety of all who are living through them.

Wanted to give you an update on a project that I mentioned two years ago. My friend and colleague Dr. Mary Dalton (’83), Professor of Communication, put out a call in the Daily Deac (and many other outlets) seeking stories about gratitude for a book she was working on. The book, called Sharing Gratitude: Daily Reflections, offers a reflection on gratitude for every day of the year. Some are from Wake Foresters, others are not (full disclosure: I have an entry in there).

The entry for November 22nd is from a P’16 mom and it was so lovely Mary wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy.

November 22 – The Right Academic Fit

When the Wake Forest University recruiters came to Houston, Texas to meet and welcome the families of incoming first year students, one parent asked, “Why is everyone at Wake Forest so happy?” The recruiter answered, “When you live and work in Utopia, how can you not be happy?” How true I would find this statement to be.

I am forever grateful to Wake Forest and my daughter’s professors. When we moved Madeline into her dorm room, we left this shy, introverted child who was instantly challenged intellectually. Madeline always had a gift for writing, but Wake helped take her talent to a new level, and I loved how Wake taught out-of-the box thinking. Listening to her daily WF adventures was truly a treat.

Now I have a confident, well-educated daughter who learned from the best! Not only did Wake Forest nurture my child, the university welcomed me, too. Getting to know Madeline’s professors was an added bonus. I don’t know who was sadder for Madeline to graduate—me or her. I fell in love with North Carolina and Wake Forest. Madeline and I visit each year and have lunch with one of her professors, who is so wonderful about offering Madeline career advice.

I understand why they say, “Mother so dear.” Thank you, thank you Wake Forest!

–Michelle Stone
Houston, TX

For those that were paying attention over break, in my New Years Resolution post I encouraged people to write real letters or notes. Part of the inspiration for that resolution comes from another Wake Forest friend and colleague, Jennifer Richwine (’93), who is the Executive Director of the Wake Washington program. She and Mary Dalton are kindred spirits in the desire to cultivate gratitude. Jennifer wrote an excellent book several years ago called With Gratitude: The Power of a Thank You Note. It is a terrific reminder of how the simple gesture of saying thank you – in writing – can make a tremendous difference for the reader.

Whether you write a note or simply make a mental note of something that makes you grateful today, I encourage you to spend a few intentional moments of gratitude today. This short video was part of the training class I attended this week, and I thought it was really excellent. Am told that our Chaplain, Tim Auman, had recommended this video. I hope you might like it.

by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

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