I liked how gratitude is explained in Active Hope. Gratitude played a huge role in bringing happiness and calmness in my life. Thankfully I have been practicing gratitude consciously for a long time. When my mother gave me her spiritual book, how to live happily or something like that, I was still young but understood the benefits of gratitude without doubt and hesitation. My mother also did conduct the power of words experiments. That is, we put a scorp of rice into two different bins and constantly said “positive and warm” words to one, and “negative and cold” words to the other. I was really shocked by the results. After a few weeks, the rice in the two bins looked so different. The one we continually expressed our gratitude and positive words kept solid form and became bright yellow, while the other we expressed hatred and scorned became dark and wetty. That scared me as a little child. I tried to use good words and express gratitude since then.

I truly believe what’s written in Active Hope, gratitude brings happiness and hope that deeply connect to our lives. Yes I gained resilience and established the positive attitudes toward the world around me. However, I want to propose a problem in our modern society here. One thing that prevents me from being grateful was education. Schools were places to learn gratitude, but as we get older, I felt even teachers forget to teach gratitude to students especially when students are in mess (tests!). Why is that? Growing up in Japanese educational system, we had to strive to pass the exams every time we get into new school and we were pretty much stressed out. The teacher’s jobs there were to push as many students as possible to the better schools, into the norms that are already there with prestige in society. That made me sad when I was in school. Because I knew that the societies need more humanistic approaches, flexibility, and GRATITUDE, especially towards the environment. I felt schools don’t prepare for students to learn those necessities. Many students lost their gratitude even for education! I thought that was a big problem. Let’s see children in poor countries, they are eager to study. Rich countries have money and enough resources to give a good education, but students just hate studying, which is such a contradiction in this society. If schools are for the future success of the society, it needs to cultivate children’s appreciation for the environment and education.

I kind of lost my gratitude at some point due to stress from school, but I became stronger realizing and overcoming that problem. Nowadays what I do to keep myself be positive is to make smile when I see mirrors. As I learned from the power of words experiment, I believe “when you smile to the world, the world smiles back” so I keep cherishing the importance of gratitude! See the video and you will be smiling.

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