April 29, 2010

Words Matter

Yesterday I was going through a bunch of stuff in my nightstand, mainly throwing stuff away, in preparation for our move. As I was going through the junk, I found a box I hadn't opened in a LONG time. It was full of notes & cards that I have received over the years from former students, volunteer leaders, & parents. I try to hang on to all the cards I get because somebody to time to sit down & write it, & I value that. I looked through some of the cards & thought back to things like a special 18th birthday celebration that a former student's parents threw where they invited people who had been major influences on their son, & I was privileged to be there. The truth is they had a bigger influence on me than I did on their family. I read some of the notes & wondered where that kid (who is now like 24) is now.

Then I got to the bottom of the box & found a stack of cards that go back all the way to 1995 (That's literally one of them; I scanned it onto my laptop). I was in 11th grade. The cards were from the greatest teacher I ever had; even though sometimes I thought she was just plain nuts! In hindsight, I realize that's what made her great. I was on our school's academic decathlon team (yeah, I know "nerd alert") that year & she was the "coach" of the team. Those cards are full of encouragement that she poured out on all of us who were a part of that group, & she didn't just say those words to us; she took the time to sit down & write us all individual cards & letters of encouragement. Now, almost 15 years later, I still have those cards & it's weird how things she wrote way back then have become reality.

The bottom line: words matter whether their positive or negative. Encouragement is powerful, & we never know just how badly somebody might need to hear a word of encouragement or blessing. Better yet, why not write it down, crystallize that moment, make that blessing concrete, permanent so that they can reflect back years later on how powerful your encouragement was to them. And thanks to Mrs. Kee for teaching me another lesson all these years later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that, Matt. She was a good teacher...the best. :-) --Katharine (Snell) Moran