I don't like to give extra credit. However, from time to time I will put an easy opportunity for points on a quiz. For an additional five points, I added the following question to Monday's quiz:
What is one thing you're thankful for, and why?
Freshmen are funny folks; I never know what sort of answers I'll get. I had a few quirky ones, like the one who was thankful for food because of how wonderful it was, and there were a few related to work and school, but the vast majority were thankful for specific people--mothers, fathers, siblings, best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends.
As I read off representative answers after I collected them, I mused aloud. "A lot of people are willing to write this on a quiz for English class, but how many of you would say this directly to these people?" I saw quite a few heads shaking no. I admitted that I'm not good with doing that myself; many people aren't.
"They should know already," one student said.
In a perfect world, perhaps, each person knows exactly what he or she means to others, how many lives we touch just in our daily interactions. I wouldn't say this is a fallen world, but perfect it is not. Negatives are so easy to find, tempers can be so hard to rein in sometimes, work tends to take precedence over more important things, and we take for granted the people who mean the most to us. And those simple acknowledgments fall by the wayside.
I admit, again, that I'd horrid with this stuff myself. Start getting into mushy, feel-good sentiments, and I'm likely to get a little uncomfortable and start mocking the ideas or otherwise squirming, whether I'm on the giving end or the receiving end. But I think I'll try to work past my reservations. That's my intent, anyway.
Have a good Thanksgiving.