In the United States, during the month of November, it is a common practice to start a 30 Days of Gratitude list or to start reflecting on the things for which we are thankful. Obviously, we take enough for granted during the other 11 months so we should be able to stop, reflect, and give thanks for at least 1 month. So, as I have started to see people’s 30 Days of Gratitude pop up on Facebook I have realized that recently I have become quite negative about my frustrations in Brasil and it is time for me to step back and offer up some prayers and praise of Thanksgiving.
After a late night meeting with the teachers and directors at the Professional High School in Pentecoste I was reminded that every day I work alongside some of the most amazing people I have ever have the privilege of knowing. I have the great honor of walking alongside teachers and directors who believe that together they can build a better future for themselves and the students. They walk in faith and are strengthened by the support and encouragement they receive from one another. There have been months when they have come to work day after day without receiving a pay-check and never once did I hear them complain. They have received piles of work and tasks on top of their regular responsibilities as teachers, and they continue to strive on. I am continually inspired by them and thankful for the opportunity to walk alongside them.
And, if the teachers were not enough I am blessed to teach and learn from some of the most amazing students Brasil has to offer. These students love to learn, share and help one another. The teachers and students alike at the school have developed an emotional climate where everyone is welcome and embraced and all are part of the team. This afternoon I was coming to lunch late because of a few projects I was working on. As I sat down to eat, the last 2 students in the cafeteria were leaving. As they saw me sit down they turned back around and said, “hey, you can’t eat lunch alone! We will sit with you!”. Never, in any high school in the USA, have I seen this happen before.
The climate at this school is truly inspiring. Here the teachers and students walk as equals where the students have as much, if not more, say in the direction of the school. And, the sentiment of cooperation dominates decisions and actions. Honestly, I am so extremely lucky to work in one of the most amazing places in the world with the most incredible faculty, staff and students.
As Prof. Manoel Andrade frequently reminds us, we are “Living through grace, walking in faith and serving with love”.