The Thank You That Came Back

This week’s story from J.R. shows that often when we share gratitude, it comes back to us:

My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Rowe, was my favorite teacher. By the time I was in high school, I told everyone that, except him. He was new to teaching and brought energy into the classroom. He taught me that so much more existed outside of my suburban bubble. He also grew up in our rival town, Evanston.

When I was 25, my dad found an old picture from my high school basketball state championship against Evanston, one of the most exciting moments of my young career. Buried in the crowd of 10,000 was Mr. Rowe, sitting on our side of the stands.

Seeing his picture prompted me to write him a thank you note for what I had learned in 5th grade – to finally tell him directly how much I, and our entire class, appreciated him.

His response meant more to me than I would have guessed. Seven years after I was in his classroom, the teacher I admired so much came to that basketball game to watch me play against his hometown. Nine years after that, he still remembered it. In expressing my own gratitude to Mr. Rowe, I unexpectedly had it returned to me.

You’ll never know how your thank yous will be received until you put forth the effort. But, we can guarantee you’ll light somebody up for a few minutes, and they may just remember that special feeling nine years later. Who can you thank this week?