Write a thank you to someone in your childhood who had an impact on your life. I wish I could tell you where I read this, but I can’t remember nor find the source on the net tonight. Most thank-yous are just that a verbal “Thanks.” There are few of those hand-written notes we do, thanking people for gifts, hospitality, their time or a thoughtful act. But many of those people who have a profound impact on our lives are not recognized until years later. It is seldom an “aha” moment when we meet that person. It is only years later in reflection, do you realize how this person changed your life and the impact they had.
Once I decided I was going to write a life impact thank you , I knew exactly who my choice was, my second grade teacher who taught me to read and write. It took me months to write my thank you. I even found a Hallmark card to thank a teacher years later, but a card alone wasn’t right. I bought the card to include my with my thank-you note. That card helped me to keep going. It was a reminder of my unfinished task. How do you say not just thank you for teaching me to read and write, but let them know they affected my life in so many ways? How do you say this all out of the blue nearly 50 years later? I discovered you do this with time and many revisions. Writing this is not only a thank you but a self-examination of how much broader an impact this person made on your life. Each time I worked on the letter, I came to realize it was much more than reading and writing, and all of that deserved acknowledgement too. I went through revisions and more revisions to get the words just right, but finally I was ready share this with my teacher.
If writing the letter was a journey in reflection, sending the letter was taking a risk. What will she think when she gets a thank you from a student she taught nearly 50 years ago? I worried about her reaction getting this letter out of left field. Would she think we a wack-job, a weirdo? Was this one of those things that you were suppose to write but never send? Finally I thought about time, mine and hers. Neither of us are getting more time in this world. I also considered the fact of thank-yous are customarily done relatively close to the deed. At the time she was my teacher, her impact was not possible to imagine, only now can I see it deserves proper acknowledgement. I finally decided to sent it because if I didn’t it could become too late, the gifts she gave me deserved recognition and most of all she deserved to know she made a difference in a life, mine.