Head Reflections: Practicing Gratitude and Paying It Forward

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On Thursday, September 15, we took a break from classes to a different sort of education. In our effort to broaden experiences, build healthy habits, and provide our students with a sense of place here in central New Hampshire, we spent our day in service to others. Thursday’s Smith-Moore Service-Learning Day was one of two all-school days committed to helping others. This day is an important reflection of our core values, respect for others, and responsibility to the community and positively impacting the world around us.

Lessons Through Service

The Smith-Moore Service-Learning Day honors two legendary New Hampton Families whose commitment to New Hampton and the role our school plays in the greater Lakes Region community. We take time to help others because we are in a fortunate position to do so, we believe the lessons our students learn from helping others are important, and it honors longstanding New Hampton School traditions.

This year the work feels even more purposeful, coming off our COVID-delayed Bicentennial Celebration and how our day supports our School theme for the year, Gratitude In Action. We routinely ask our students to reflect on their good fortunes; the opportunity to be part of the New Hampton Community, the important friendships they develop here, the pivotal experiences that prepare them for life after NHS, and so much more. We ask our students to be kind to each other, show respect, support each other’s pursuits, and be there for each other in difficult times.

Gratitude In Action

Gratitude in Action was intentionally chosen as a way to challenge community members. It helps us to demonstrate an appreciation of our core values through acts of kindness towards others. Our service day is a practical demonstration. We also understand that acts of gratitude reveal themselves in many forms. A kind note to a friend or colleague, or jumping in to help someone clean up a mess. Volunteering to organize an event or participating in a planned service opportunity as part of our weekend activities. It takes only a moment to recognize an opportunity for service.

Life as a student and employee at New Hampton is busy. The six-day week can be all consuming and there is always something on the “to-do list”. However, we can’t lose sight of pace and the importance of slowing down to care for self and others. It is in that vein that we pause from our normal class routine for these shared experiences of helping others. We learn about our connected local communities while growing relationships with each other.

Join us, in your community, by demonstrating gratitude in action!

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