What she couldn't see were the afternoons and evenings when . . . (this information for intended recipient only).
Nor could she see the visions that distracted me from the classroom flow . . . (this information for intended recipient only).
But what she could see, she recognized and affirmed. They were some of the characteristics I'd yet to fully discover about myself--perhaps I'd taken them for granted, too, which meant that I couldn't possibly know the value in owning, developing and implementing them every chance I had.
The praise wasn't for giving the right answer that day we sat Indian-style before the chalkboard, exploring the possible solutions to some elementary question. The praise was for HOW I arrived at the answer. Mrs. Shore's radiant smile and wide-eyed kudos were in celebration of my creative thinking.
"Remind me to give you a hug for that," she said.
I remember staying behind as the class left for lunch to redeem that extra affirmation. I can still see the lines that gathered at the corners of her eyes when she laughed. They seemed to read: "You're absolutely precious."
Mrs. Shore was quick, genuine and generous with her praise. She couldn't have known which attributes--of the many she affirmed--I would grow to value most dearly, develop most fully and share most gratefully. They are, however, my creative and analytical thinking, my inclination and willingness to recognize and affirm the strengths of others, and my sincere gratitude--which, by the way, is the inspiration behind ThankingOfYou.com.
She couldn't have known how these attributes would build, with her "little bit" of nurturing from the start, into the essential tools which I'd call upon, year after tumultuous year, in my efforts to stay strong and confident despite fear and chaos and to construct a life of joy, good relationships and personal success, based on the belief that, somehow, I truly could solve just about any challenge I'd ever face.
There's so much Mrs. Shore could never have known. Yet she took the time to infuse her students with her own, very special personal attributes--her love, recognition and affirmation of who we were and who we could become.
And she deserves to know now.
Mrs. Shore, with sincere gratitude, I'm Thanking Of You.
Nora (Wahl) Firestone, former student
Return to Story Headline List