Thursday, March 6, 2014

The gift of thank you

Some days as we go through our normal routines we forget how fortunate we are to touch and to be touched by others' lives. Today was a day like that for me until the note below appeared in my e-mail inbox from someone I have not seen or spoken with for 18 years.

I share it here not as a boast or a celebration of me, but as a reminder that each of us has people out there who remember us, learn from us, and add to who they are by having crossed paths with us. And each of us has those people who have had that same impact on us at different times in our lives.

What a remarkable gift it is to take the time to say so.

March 7 is National Employee Appreciation Day. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of my friends and colleagues here at SCC for all of the wonderful work you do every day and the impacts that you have on the lives of those around you.

Hello sir,

I don't know if you remember me, but I worked as a Graduate Assistant as an Assistant Residence Director at Johnson State College as I was completing my Masters at The University of Vermont. One of my practicum rotations during my time there was working directly with you for a semester.

I have thought of you a lot over the years. Just recently, a very dear friend of mine passed. He lived every last bit of his life to the fullest. His passing has prompted me to reflect on the people who matter to me the most now and who mattered the most to me in the past. People who helped me become the person I am today and the people who continue to help me become better.

You, and I hope I told you this at the time, were one of the most pivotal folks in my graduate school experience. In the short time I had the opportunity to work with you, I learned so much from you, and you provided me with such a sense of confidence, inspiration, and passion for Student Affairs. It's funny, my dad every now and then asks me about the Dean at JSC who said "someday he’d be working for you." He knew how much I admired you. Obviously, you were never going to be working for me, but that was what made you special. I will never forget that phrase. As I ventured off into the real world post-education, it meant the world to me that someone I admired so much thought I was off to do great things.

Congratulations, albeit very late, on your role as President at St Charles. The students and staff there are very blessed to have you in their midst. I am envious of the ones who still get to learn from you and work with you, as I am sure the lessons continue to be many.

I have read through a number of your posts, and the Dean and person I remember so fondly is clearly still living his life and serving his community so well. I remember aching for you and your family with the passing of your wife. However, I was very heartened to hear about the family you have continued to built. At the time I knew you, I couldn't imagine having 3 daughters ... but five? Wow.

Well sir ... you may well remember my calling you that and constantly insisting that I did not. I was raised to respect people, particularly those who are so very deserving. Life can work in mysterious ways. The passing of my friend prompted me to reach out to you and tell you that you meant the world to me, and many of the things I learned about you from a leadership perspective and life perspective I still carry with me. And when I read your post about your daughter Mia and the lesson to reach out, the timing of me reaching out to and landing on that particular post is surreal.

I hope this note finds you well. As one of the countless people you have mentored, befriended, led, educated, etc ... I just wanted to make sure I reached out to you like you did you high school guidance counselor and let you know that you very much had a lasting impact on my life. There are many days when I wish I could go back to those times. I honestly cannot believe that 18+ years have passed.

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