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We don’t often talk about gratitude in education, and current events might make it tough to find reasons to be grateful. This episode of HybridPod aims to help direct our attention, at least for a little while, toward how gratitude influences the way we work and interact with others.

Even in times like these, the intentionality of pausing to reflect, take stock, and find opportunities for gratitude can grant us peace and reassurance we all desperately need these days —Chris Friend

I start by chatting with Amy Slay about the nature of gratitude, including how it differs from appreciation and praise. And we discuss the concept of “active gratitude”—a phrase which may have its origins in a misunderstanding. Regardless, we ran with the idea. How do we see gratitude differently when we think of it as being active? How does that change our expectations of ourselves?

Gratitude can be a vehicle for being an advocate and for being an ally — when someone is affected by something … surrounded by people who didn’t share that exact context, but they were able to be your ally in that situation. —Amy Slay

Kate Bowles joins the discussion to suggest ways in which gratitude can be professionally treacherous — both for the people feeling grateful and the systems benefitting from those feelings. We talk about the risk of using gratitude to grow comfortable and complacent when instead we should be active — and activists.

For me, gratitude enables activism, because it enables us to practice a kind of acceptance-and, rather than acceptance-and-not.  If I accept that this is the way things are, and then I act, gratitude is one of the things that enables me to put down my guilt, and say, “Deserving, or undeserving, that’s kind of irrelevant to what I now do.” I think, for me, gratitude, as an activist practice, comes with an injunction to act. —Kate Bowles

This conversation takes a few more twists and turns than usual, but it provides a broader perspective on the topic, as well. Ocean liners, elections, vigils, and hamster wheels all come into play as we unpack the virtues, values, and vices that accompany gratitude and how we can actively use it for the greater good.