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We all should be feeling a sense of gratefulness as we head into this time of Thanksgiving.I realize that not all the hundreds of educators that I collaborate with world-wide, celebrate this holiday, so I hope you’ll indulge me.

Regardless of where you are in your life or career right now, there is at least one thing or one person you can be grateful for. This is not a revelation by any means but rather a declaration that we all need to stop, consider and make.

Today on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2011, I want to declare my gratefulness and gratitude to eleven very special people in my life. People for whom my life and work would not be as fulfilling as it is, were it not for their care and support.

11 of my Finest Friends

1. My Husband Randy. I’m grateful that he’s my best friend, loves me, is faithful to me (it’s a second time around for both of us) and has supported me through many, recent, life changes. Love you, Honey!

2 & 3. My sons Jason and Aaron. I’m grateful that they value me as a person, share their lives with me, actually listen to what I share and give amazing feedback. Although they are my sons, in many ways they are also becoming good friends. They both inspire me daily, to be a better Mom!

4. My friend Betty Ray. Betty Ray is Edutopia‘s senior blog editor and community manager. Betty is an amazing, caring, yet humble person. I’m grateful that she believes in me and the passion I have for my work, takes time to talk with me and genuinely cares about me. Big Hugs to you, Betty!

5 & 6. My friends Joan Young and Megan Palevich. Two talented women with tremendous educational gifts. I’m grateful to them both for joining me in my passion to support and mentor new and pre-service teachers. Not only in New Teacher Chat, but in some wonderful past and soon to be, upcoming projects.

7. My friend Shelly Terrell. It was in the fall of 2009 when I didn’t yet have a presence on twitter that saw her tweet about a recent blog post. I responded to the blog post and left a lengthy comment. We struck up a friendship and she soon mentored me in all things Twitter! We’ve since collaborated on several wonderful projects, one of which is The 30 Goals Challenge. I’m grateful to Shelly for that and so much more! Interesting foot note: Shelly and I have never met in person…amazing right? I call her my virtual sister…Smile.

8. My friend Steven Anderson. I first met Steven through Shelly in #edchat. Then in March 2011, I met Steven in person at ASCD2011, in San Franciso. What a pleasure to connect with a twitter friend and to find that they are even more inspiring in person! I’m grateful to Steven for the genuine support he gives me in my work with new teachers and the objective ear that he’s always willing to lend.

9. My friend Greta Sandler. I met Greta on Twitter as I’ve been blessed to do with so many recent friendships. She is vivacious, enthusiastic and lovely. I’m grateful to her for the on-going discussions we can have, about many subjects, even though we might not chat for weeks at a time. Greta is another friend I’ve not met in person, but one who has unselfishly supported some of my most recent projects.

10. My friend Dean Mantz. Dean reached out to me, on Twitter early in 2011 and we connected, professionally, on many levels. He’s been a tremendous support to me in my work with New Teacher Chat and supported me to present in a Knowledge Sharing Place Webinar. Dean and I have not met in person, but I’m grateful that he consistently seeks me out to share and collaborate. We are hoping for a fun, collaborative project in 2012!

11. My friend Angela Maiers. Angela is as open and honest as they come! I had not known and thing about her, until we met on Twitter. Then in March 2011 at ASCD we actually met in person. She is lovely, energetic and resonates an amazing positive energy. She has graciously invited me to join her in projects, introduced me to wonderful new social platforms,and participated with me in New Teacher Chat. I’m grateful to her for her willingness to share her gifts and talents that have inspired me to grow in my work.

                                                      Me, Karen McMillan, & Angela at ASCD2011

Gratitude Matters

In the end…gratitude doesn’t come from how many friends you have, or what they do for you, but rather the value these friends bring to your life. You may not talk to them daily, see them weekly, but you know that they are there. They may not even know, how much they mean to you. But…with an email, tweet or Skype call you can connect to your friends and tell them you care and count on them to support you. Whether you are standing up for the rights of the afflicted in your community, the needs of students in your classroom, or the need you have to be supported…even on the worst day…you know that you can reach out!

At this Thanksgiving time, I share my gratefulness and gratitude to these eleven wonderful friends today. Friends who have been there to listen, stand with me and support me.

I share this in the hope that, no matter your current situation, you will take a moment to reflect on those very special people in your life, who make it that much better and brighter and show them you care.

And…I leave you with this question: Who are you grateful for?


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