Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't leave anything unsaid

I got a very nice email today. It was in response to one I sent just yesterday, to my favorite childhood teacher. For a couple of years in grade school, my family lived in Virginia. The crap that transpired earlier this week got me thinking about her, and how important it is to let people know how you feel about them.

Her response was so touching, and it was apparent my short note meant a lot to her. Following is an excerpt from the email (with some of the personal stuff removed):

Dear Shanna,
I just want to thank you for your thoughtful note to me. It meant so much to me and touched me greatly. I have taught now for 42 years, [info about school], and in all those years, I have never had someone whom I taught so long ago tell me that I made a difference in his or her life. I have had contact with many of my former students, in fact, I have taught many children of my earlier students. Often they will tell me that they remember being in my class and some of the things that they did in second grade. However to hear from someone who thought enough to make the effort of locating my email address and writing such a lovely note was wonderful. It came at a meaningful time because this is my last year of teaching. I finally made the decision to retire at the end of this school year. I still love teaching and working with children and I plan to substitute and privately tutor as I can't give it up completely.

I do remember you, especially after you jogged my memory about being the "white-haired" blonde. I went home yesterday and looked for a yearbook for 78/79. However we didn't have yearbooks until 80/81 but I had taken group pictures of 4 students together, and there you were in one of those pictures. I remember you as being rather quiet, but smart and very sweet. [more touching personal stuff you don't get to read]

Again, thanks for your letter. I will always cherish it and keep it with my memories of teaching. Sometimes a teacher wonders whether she or he is truly making a difference to the students, and with all the work we do, whether it is really worth the effort. Now I know that it is, and I have spent all of my life doing something that was worthwhile, and my students do remember me.

With love and affection, [Mrs. G.]

So, kiddies, I have a homework assignment for you. I mean, since you obviously have nothing better to do (you are here, aren't you?).

Here's the premise: Everyone has at least one person who had a profound effect on their lives at some time or another. It's quite possible this person doesn't even know it. So, if you haven't already, send them an email, give them a call, or at the very least share the story on your homepage. Then come back here and tell me about it.

Now go make someone's day.


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