Caring and Gratitude

6, 7, 8

In this lesson the learners discuss a quote about gratitude and consider the relationship between caring and gratitude.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • discuss a quote about gratitude by Texan Matthew McConaughey.
  • investigate the relationship between caring and gratitude.
  • reflect on how gratitude may influence the causes and social issues they care about.

Student lists of causes and social issues from Lesson One


j.k. livin Foundation


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write this quote on a display area:

    "Give thanks. Appreciate what you DO have…the more we give thanks, the more we receive to be thankful for. Gratitude is the gift that always gives back." --Matthew McConaughey

  2. Tell the students that Texas native Matthew McConaughey demonstrates his caring by establishing the J. K. Livin Foundation (short for just keep living) to honor and show gratitude for his father. He decided to start the J.K. Livin Foundation because "part of living is about giving back."

  3. Ask the learners to think about and discuss the relationship between caring and thanksgiving, or gratitude. Ask, "Can caring be an act of gratitude? Is being thankful an act of caring?" Remind the learners of the celebrities and their philanthropic passions -- what they care about -- from the previous lesson. Ask, "How might what they care about be a response of gratitude?"

  4. Ask the learners to look at the list of things they care about (from previous lesson) and have them write next to each of those things whether they care about it because it is partly a response of gratitude.

  5. Allow volunteers to name things that they care about and if they are related to gratitude.

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.