Monthly Challenge for August


Theme: Gratitude, enhanced by acts of kindness.


Simply put, gratitude can be an individual’s expression of thanks and appreciation for some act, or for a particular person in his or her life, or for a particular state of being. Furthermore, it can be expressed for a person’s health, be it emotional, physical, or mentally. One can acknowledge gratitude because of a particular relationship, the ability to make personal and professional choices, the ability to laugh, and to express appreciation for the quiet moments.


Zig Ziglar often said, “The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.”


There is a Greek proverb that says, “It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.”


I am most grateful for several things, including my health, my family, the relationships I have shared in my professional career and personal life, the opportunities to inspire others and the ability to enjoy the simple things in life.


Over the next month, I challenge you to direct optimism into various aspects of your life through calming reflections, the toil of positive energy, and the stirring of cheerful expectations. This enables you to identify appreciation and align future outlook to some level of goodness at the individual, family, organization and community levels.




As the summer vacations end, school bells begin to ring, intercoms activated, and educational institutions beginning to swarm with young leaders, there is an opportunity to express gratitude. Equally, administrators, faculty, and staffs are once again gainfully occupied to ensure students’ achievement and administrative success using a variety of mediums. The task this month is two-fold:


  1. Set a personal goal of reflecting on those that aided you along your academic journey. Identify what you are thankful for and assess how you can transform that gratefulness to benefit someone else. Then devise a way to aid at least two students with school preparation and acquiring the required materials to empower their start.


Example: Provide the students several items from their required items list such as a particular calculator or computer to enhance their educational performance. Provide book certificates to college students for required books during their first semester.


  1. Extend a working hand to at least two teachers by offering your support, in some form, in their classrooms during this academic year.


Example A: Provide a grade school teacher with items that will enhance classroom activities such as posters, notebooks, posters, supplemental reading materials, markers, etc…


Example B: Coordinate with the administrative office for a county school system to be a volunteer teacher on an approved schedule.


Your contributions may come in a variety of forms but it is essential to communicate in advance with the receivers to guarantee the resources you provide are of value for their particular goals.

Consider what you can afford to give, be it money, time, or words of encouragement that will illuminate the path towards achievement. Regardless of your direction, be mindful that you are today’s blessing for someone else.


Inspire gratitude.




Your perception on life tends to favor environments that flourish instead of flounder. This view will shape a greater attitude in you and towards others.


Your gifts will enable the receivers to proceed with making an instrumental impact on learning – with gratitude. The students and/or teachers will be grateful for your acts of kindness and through them, the seeds planted through you continue to grow.


This will allow your heart to absorb the comfort of knowing that you are a difference-maker, not just in ideas but in application.




** Grant, Adam M., and Gino, Francesca. 2012. A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior. Retrieved at


** Benefits of Volunteering. The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Jan 2012. Retrieved from


** The Importance of Gratitude. University of Massachusetts. Retrieved at




I firmly believe that the way I think oftentimes influence my path, my performance along the way, my point of arrival, and what I embrace upon arrival. Therefore, daily, I elect to grow with grace and gratitude. — Joe Shakeenab