Two weeks ago, I was sitting in a meeting and a colleague mentioned that she had accidentally received student teaching materials from one of my former students. I thought that was a strange coincidence, but what happened next was even stranger. The student had mentioned me in the materials. The colleague said that it was very complimentary, and I was moved. I was sitting in a completely useless meeting with tears in my eyes. The combination of knowing that I have given so much of my life and heart to was valuable to someone, combined with the complete random nature of me finding out was overwhelming.
As soon as I could get to Facebook, I messaged the student (I can't tell you how much I love that I can still be connected to former students) with my thanks. She offered to send me the personal reflection and I received that this week. I read the student's words and, although I sometimes feel I don't measure up to them, I was moved beyond words.
The same day I received a tweet from a very special former student after I had wish him a happy birthday on Twitter. Again, the kindness of the message blew me away.
I try to frequently touch base with former students via text message, tweet, or Facebook message. I admit I am a sappy idiot, but I want them to know I am proud of them and I am cheering them on (because I am). This week, that warmness came back to me exponentially. I am truly blessed to have the best students on earth.
I am convinced the greatest gift you can give the people that matter to you is the honest appreciation for their impact in your life....say it, write it, draw it....just let them know. I can't think of a better gift and, in this season of mass consumerism, it's free.
In the words of my dear friend Angela Maiers, let them know #you matter!