Tucked inside the folded newspaper with the pile of bills and junk mail in our mailbox was a small 3 x 5 envelope. Addressed to Dave, I thought it was probably a note of appreciation. He gets those sometimes from satisfied customers. Occasionally, we receive notes of thanks from folks with whom we’ve shared casseroles or homemade bread. I wondered which customer was sending him the note – and why. I found out when he came home and opened his mail.
This one came from a former teacher who wrote to tell Dave how much the words he had shared with some other folks about her teaching had meant to her. In a casual conversation while working at John and Ann’s house one day, Dave told them how much he appreciated having Mrs. Jones* as a teacher. He remembered specific things she did over the course of the year and shared his fond memories with John and Ann because he knew they were friends.
What he shared with John and Ann went straight to Mrs. Jones, who promptly sat down and wrote the note to Dave. “Teachers don’t hear students say good things about them often, and what you said was a real blessing to me.”
How special it would have been had Dave written his teacher and let her hear it from him years ago! Almost half-a-century later, he still remembers the pleasant days in her classroom.
So often we fail to consider how a note or card of affirmation might be just what the person might need.
Why not pass it on? Why not, instead of looking for trouble or failure, look instead for the good and then pass that affirmation on to the one who deserves hearing it from us?
How about teaching our kids the importance of expressing appreciation? Would our town be a better place if each student needed to write one note of appreciation per week as a writing assignment? Certainly it could be genuine.
There are so many people who serve us daily: the mail carrier, bus driver, custodians, food service workers, and neighbors who give sugar or milk when we need a loan. There are others who make a difference: a caring nurse, a gentle physician, the bank teller or the McDonalds drive-through clerk who always has a smile. When was the last time you sent a note to thank your child’s teacher – whether the teacher is connected to school, church, sports, or a club? We can hardly expect our children to do something that we don’t model ourselves.
How about – especially on days when we feel discouraged ourselves – we take the time to affirm someone else as we’d like to be affirmed?
Who touched your life when you were a child? Who touched your life this past week?
How about passing it on – not just for their sake, but for ours as well?
How about making a difference for someone else today?
*Yes, I changed the names of the folks in this story – except, of course, for Dave.
I love having choices of Thank You notes to send to people: