Monday, February 26, 2018

Share the Love...A Follow Up

Two weeks ago on Valentine's Day, I shared with you a short message posted to Facebook by a friend of mine who teaches English at a high school outside of Chicago. I also shared how I planned to act - and expand - on her simple request.

You can read the entirety of Beth's message here, but for those of you who need just a quick reminder, here is what she asked of parents:

If you’ve ever considered sending a quick note of gratitude to your child’s teacher, do it during the month of February. Such small gestures go a long way to lift spirits and brighten days—and they mean more than you can ever know.

And here is how I planned - and encouraged others - to expand on Beth's request:

In addition to showing your affection for your spouse, partner, children, family members, and friends, share your love with those outside of your immediate circle who might need a boost. Send a message to your children's teachers. Leave a thank you note in your mailbox for your postal carrier. Post words of encouragement for doctors and nurses or a note of gratitude for city employees on their respective Facebook pages. Send an email to friends and/or acquaintances who struggle when the days are short and the nights are long.

I admit that I felt a little strange as I wrote emails to Will and Hallie's teachers. As I helped Hallie seal her note for our mailman. As I sent a seemingly out-of-the-blue text to a friend who suffers from anxiety and depression, especially at this time of year. I wondered if the recipients of our "share the love" movement would find our behavior curious, or think I was looking for something in return.

I needn't have worried.

Here's what I wrote - simple, short, and sweet - to Hallie and Will's teachers:

And here are some of their responses:

Every teacher emailed me back to say thank you for reaching out.

I cried tears of joy as these responses arrived in my inbox. Not because many of the teachers made lovely remarks about Will and Hallie, but because I could tell I had caught them off guard - in a good way - and that they felt appreciated. And then through my tears I took screen captures and forwarded them to Beth, who I wanted to feel some of the happiness I was experiencing.

Valentine's Day may have come and gone, but February hangs on...dark and cold and germy and now scary. It's not too late to write that email, leave that note, send that text. Sharing the love makes a difference, so let's continue to do so.

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