Home Books Evolution courtesy of #Preview – George Kouros

Evolution courtesy of #Preview – George Kouros

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It was a great pleasure not only to publish Lainey Rowell’s latest book, Growing with Gratitude, on IMPress, but also to write a part myself along with many others.

As Laney wrote, I challenged her by saying, “How does the practice of gratitude improve learning?” and she did a fantastic job in her book of not only sharing why gratitude is valuable in our world, but also strategies that can be implemented both in the classroom and in our lives.

You will love it!

You can pick up your copy here!

For now, here’s my small part of this book:


Like the rest of the world, March 2020 had a significant impact on my life and the lives of those around me. As someone who has benefited from traveling the world and working with educators, I quickly had to find a new path. I was worried about what the future held and how the changes in my career would affect my family and me.

One of the things I focused on in previous years was the practice of gratitude. I remember leaning on these two questions from Tim Denning and make practice in my life. He shared the following questions:

  1. Did I learn one new thing today?
  2. Did I help or inspire one person?

I liked the questions, but I wanted to add a third.

  1. Have I expressed gratitude to someone who has had a positive influence on me?

I ran through these questions leading up to March 2020 and felt it helped me focus at the end of the day while setting the tone for the next.

But I let this practice slip away.

But then I remember reading a post by my good friend Patrick Larkin in March 2020 called “The Best Time to Practice Gratitude.” I read this quote and was a bit confused:


“Find one thing each day that you are grateful for that would not be possible if we were not in these unique circumstances. Parents, ask your children for the same.”

Patrick Larkin


My first thought was, “Wow…that’s really selfish!” When people really struggled, trying to find “good” seemed like a self-centered endeavor.

But I know Patrick well, and I will tell you that he is one of the most caring and dedicated people I have ever met. So I doubted him, and over dinner I asked my daughter Callea, who was three at the time, “What was she thankful for?”

She looked at me and said, “Daddy home.”

The only tearful moment.

I had been on the road for the past ten years without a month at home, and suddenly her words helped me recalibrate and focus on what I did have at the moment compared to what I didn’t have. Suddenly, focusing inward on what I was grateful for helped me think about how I could help others. What seemed like a selfish act actually helped me become selfless in the spotlight.

I noticed this two week period around the world where educators were being celebrated for their fantastic work during Covid and I felt like people were finally appreciating schools and teachers for all they have done for our communities. But then these “two weeks” seemed to be over, and I saw not only a lack of gratitude, but in some cases also harshness towards teachers. I know many people have faced stressful situations, but this really hurts my heart. I decided I wanted to make a difference and help change the narrative, so I started a series on my podcast called 3 Questions About Inspiring Teachers asking the following questions:

  1. Who is a teacher who inspired you?
  2. Which of the admins inspired you?
  3. What advice would you give to your freshman self?

It was a way to share the wonderful experiences of educators and express gratitude to the teachers who have influenced our lives. I wanted to model the practice, so I first answered these questions and talked about three of my teachers. My kindergarten teacher, my music teachers and my high school soccer coach. I shared honest stories about them, and within 48 hours, every single one of them reached out to me to thank me for the recognition! I hadn’t spoken to two of them in probably over 20 years, but there they were, cheering me on and thanking me for taking the time to acknowledge them!

I thought about how many educators in the world have NO idea of ​​the impact they have on their students. They’ll never get the “thank you” they deserve, but if I can get them closer, it’s at least a good start.

This podcast series turned into a book called Because of a Teacher, where 15 educators share their answers to these questions. The co-authors of this book have written incredible stories, and in many cases I’ve seen them gift teachers from their past with the books they talked about, and it really warmed my heart. The hope was not only to recognize our great mentors, but also to encourage others in and out of the profession to, in some way, reach out to their former mentors and let them know about their influence. It was magical to watch this practice of being grateful to others not only spread around the world, but also allowed us to go back in time to let them know about their impact.

It was great to see several schools start their own podcast with their current students to ask them about a teacher they had at school who influenced them. Not only does it share what resonates with our kids, but it also encourages students to not wait 40 years like I did to let their teachers know what an impact they had on them!

I always say this and do my best to live it up; it is always better to share gratitude for others too early and not too late. It is a selfless act that benefits not only those who receive it, but also those who give it.

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