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Why I am so grateful for the MAC community

When I sat down to pen this post I took some time to review the past five articles in the MAC blog. Part of my motivation was to ensure that I was moving into new territory and the other motivation was to reflect on what I’ve been sharing. It also afforded me the opportunity to read the lovely and insightful comments I’ve received as a result of the posts.

As I paused at that moment to reflect, I felt an enormous feeling of gratitude. And it brought to mind how fortunate I am to be surrounded everyday by people who celebrate what is happening right now. And while it might seem counter-intuitive, this focus on the present moment is very much a part of our commitment to preparing future-ready individuals through our efforts at Mac.

Christian Jarrett, a cognitive neuroscientist writes “The more you practice gratitude the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.” Research has shown that being grateful can produce feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression. Brain scans show that expressing gratitude can change your brain.

So I decided to take this opportunity at this special time of year to express the many and varied aspects of my gratitude for the MAC family.

One of the things I took away from the review of my posts was that we do spend a lot of time and effort focused on preparation for a future that is ill defined. In my first post in July I shared my thoughts on collaborative innovation and how a group of MAC parents and teachers performed a flash mob dance at our 40th gala. I again express my gratitude for their exuberant embrace of the joy we all feel about our MAC community.

In August I wrote about how Marshall McLuhan’s remark that, “We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror” spurred us on to be constantly aware that we need to embrace looking forward as a key driver for our students. This produced another moment of gratitude in realizing that it is only through the support of MAC parents that we’re able to lead your children in an exciting and innovative journey that promotes the endless learning process.

My September post built on the premise that looking ahead will allow us to maintain precise focus on equipping our students with the tools required to live a meaningful life. It was also a special post for me as I was able to share news of my sister Gillian’s appointment as the University of Toronto’s inaugural director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. In announcing her appointment she set out her goal with one question, “Have we really created something where we have broken down the silos between disciplines and created truly cross-disciplinary approaches?” My gratitude here centres on being part of a family that for decades has devoted its energies to being forces for positive change.

Flipping the page to October, I wrote about how inquiry is at the foundation of all teaching at MacLachlan. The use of inquiry is facilitated by our teachers and the methodologies that teachers use become more sophisticated and complex as students progress from grade to grade. This can only happen when you have a group of teachers who are passionate, constantly curious, open and willing to change. We recognize that a challenging curriculum creates academic rigour for students. What we sometimes overlook is how extraordinarily critical it is that teachers lead and contribute to our journey. I am so very grateful for the wonderful people who teach at MacLachlan. They are what makes the real difference here.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” – Carl Jung

Then, just last month I shared how I enjoy walking the halls of the school listening and witnessing the wonder that the learning journey is. And, here is where my gratitude really comes to the fore – our MAC students are remarkable. They are inquisitive, energetic, spirited, compassionate, driven, funny, challenging, committed, talented, diverse, intelligent, individually unique and collectively wondrous. Every day their spirit vibrates throughout the school and for every member of our staff they are the reason we do what we do.

And that brings me back to where I started. As you enjoy this holiday season I encourage you to set aside the hurly-burly, when you’re able, to notice what is happening right now in this moment. When you do, I suspect you’ll find that your own gratitude will become clear.

I wish you great moments of wonder and again express my gratitude for being an integral part of the MacLachlan family.

Author: Lisa M. Duranleau | Executive Director

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