An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude – Lessons from my Daughter

I wrote this post one year ago, in March 2015, following my daughter’s skiing accident – it has been my most viewed post on LinkedIn…

Here is the original post, with a recent update at the bottom:

An Attitude of Gratitude

Recently my 10-year old daughter fell while skiing in Italy, fracturing 4 vertebrae. Thankfully she is making a good recovery. We are incredibly grateful to all the rescue and emergency personnel and health professionals that treated her.

During our week-long stay in the hospital I was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers and by the incredible resilience of this young girl. I wanted to capture a few thoughts before they disappeared with the passing of time…

It was a great reminder of how much difference little things, small gestures, kind thoughts and words can make – the offer of a bottle of water, some biscuits, the use of a phone charger, a squeeze of toothpaste…

My daughter took the whole experience in her stride, showed me how to be a model patient and decided to use this as a learning experience. We kept track of things we’d learned and that we were thankful for – that she likes kiwi fruit, a handful of new Italian words… We learned that the presence or absence of (under)pants can produce tears of laughter (I guess you had to be there…) or of frustration.

“Life is a grindstone and whether it grinds you down or polishes you up is for you and you alone to decide”

– Cavett Robert

I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and all of the fellow patients and assorted others that made this very stressful time more pleasant. Thank you to everyone who patiently tried to follow my desperate attempts at communication (my mangled Italian phrases must have been painful to the ears!), to those who shared toiletries, chocolate, biscuits, and to the farmer who appeared (seemingly) out of nowhere to rescue our ambulance when it got stuck on an icy bend in the mountains. And thank you of course to my awesome daughter – I am honoured to have you in my life.

Grazie mille!


An Attitude of Gratitude – One Year On…


lessons from my daughter

We have just returned from a successful week’s skiing in Italy where my daughter (pictured) ‘got back on the horse’ (skis).

The last year has given us plenty of reasons to have an attitude of gratitude; my daughter has made a complete recovery.

Thanks to everyone for their concern and support, from family and friends to people we met in Italy last year who have kept in touch.

It has been especially wonderful to see how kind and thoughtful her friends are (organising extra activities for her to take part in when she couldn’t take part in regular birthday party activities, forming a human shield around her so that she could walk to the picnic bench and enjoy some fresh air at break without being knocked or bumped, checking in with her every day while she was on the latest ski trip…)

Thank you!


What are you grateful for?

Let me know by leaving a comment below… or please get in touch via the contact form or call me on +44 7526 740486.

Best wishes!


12 replies
  1. Melisa Sharpe
    Melisa Sharpe says:

    Great reminder Sian. Isn’t it interesting how these “setbacks” physically can teach us a thing or two about what is really important? I think you are right that little gestures can have big impact – we often hold back because we aren’t in a place to offer a grand gesture, but really all is needed is something simple and meaningful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sian Rowsell
      Sian Rowsell says:

      Thanks Melisa! I agree – setbacks can be a great way of putting things in perspective. Also the impact of little gestures can be huge – these are sometimes the things we remember forever…

  2. eileen burns
    eileen burns says:

    Wonderful Blog Sian, I like you and your daughter I am grateful for both the health miracles I have had and health challenges I live with. These experiences shape blessings in many disguises.

  3. Paula
    Paula says:

    I’m so glad your daughter has made a full recovery. It is very interesting what becomes so obvious in tough times, like you say, it’s often the smallest gestures that we remember. If we turn that around, too, even on those days when it feels like “no one will notice if I do this” – the odds are that someone will, and that has the potential to really leave a lasting impression.

  4. Sian Rowsell
    Sian Rowsell says:

    Thanks Paula! And thank you for the reminder that we can all have a big impact on others with a small gesture even when we think that “no one will notice…”

  5. rebecca ronane
    rebecca ronane says:

    I’m grateful that you shared this inspiring post! This incident undoubtedly was painful and challenging, however how you and your daughter focused on what was positive is a lesson to us all. I’m happy to hear your daughter is skiing again, it’s such a fabulous sport.

  6. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Kiwifruit and enough clean underpants can really make or break a day–even in the midst of really big, scary things. I’m glad to see her back in the saddle, so to speak, and surrounded by people who care.


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