Celebrate: What a Difference a Note Can Make

On Monday afternoon, between school and musical practice, I stopped in the high school office for my once daily check in. I anticipated some junk mail – the stuff that is addressed to Cindy Minnich or Current English Teacher* – but not the handwritten, personally addressed card envelope, one with a stamp on it.

I have had several notes in my mailbox – both at home and at school – of late. I have collected a stack of Christmas and sympathy cards and have felt touched by all of them. The cards are proof that we have been remembered.

But the ones with more than a signature are the ones I linger over. They have stories. They tell of connections.

And sometimes they tell of connections that could have been.

That’s what the card I found in my mailbox was about. It was from someone who lives far from me who has never had the good fortune to have met my father, but wanted to tell me that my father and I were on his mind. It was a brief note, but it meant so much. It was like being hugged across the miles while reading it.

I needed it on that first day back from break.

I have thought a lot about how different handwritten letters and notes are from digital messages a lot over the past week. I’m embarrassed to say that I have taught students about the power of letter writing without necessarily following through on my own advice. I’m more apt to send a quick message online before I put the effort into dropping a card in the mail. I have stationary collected in my desk and those Richard Feynman stamps I found (which now require extra postage to even use) that haven’t been used at all. I start letters all the time and then just never finish them.

I need to do better.

Especially since I know the effect that it can have.

Everyone deserves to feel that warmth and kindness of a personal note.

I need to slow down and take the time to do this more often. It doesn’t take very many words to say something that will make someone’s day.

As I said, so many cards have come my way lately – and I have certainly been moved by them. This one, I think, stopped me in my tracks because it could have so easily been sent as a quick message across social media.

But it wasn’t.

So thank you.

That made all the difference on that Monday afternoon.

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This post is part of a group of posts from teachers around the country who are celebrating our weeks by sharing them in these posts. Click on the image above to see what others are celebrating this week.

This post is part of a group of posts from teachers around the country who are celebrating our weeks by sharing them in these posts. Click on the image above to see what others are celebrating this week.

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*I got one of those Cindy Minnich or Current English Teacher letters sent to the house once. It made me wonder what kind of marketing department had done research to decide that my husband had plans to replace me and that he further had plans to find another English Teacher. Hmmmm…

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18 thoughts on “Celebrate: What a Difference a Note Can Make

  1. I don’t always read your posts, Cindy, but am assuming that your father recently passed. I’m sorry for your loss, but also glad to hear that you’ve received many notes, & especially this one, an unexpected kindness. I love that last little addendum you added. We never know what ‘might’ be in the mail. Have a nice weekend!

  2. You’re so very right, Cindy – a handwritten note means so much. I remember getting a note in the mail after a health crisis happened in my family, and I’ll never forget it. Thank you for the reminder, and I’m so very sorry for the loss of your father.

    • I remember fondly the letters I exchanged with someone else while I was off sick a couple of years ago. Seeing those envelopes in the mail lifted my spirits like nothing else would.

  3. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father. This post is a good reminder of the power of the handwritten note and kind words! Wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you remember your father!

  4. I’m glad that someone went to the trouble to send you a blessing like that. I’m sorry for your loss. I haven’t been to your blog in a while and didn’t know. Thanks for the reminder to actually use pen and paper. Hugs to you.

    • Thank you. I find myself being amazed at the blessings that have shown themselves in the last few weeks. This one came in the mail. Others – a kind word, an unexpected hug, a story I hadn’t heard before – keep springing up at the moments I need them most. So while I’m heartbroken, I’m also realizing how very lucky I am.

  5. Real live mail is powerful. I’m so glad that note found you when you needed it. One of my goals this year is to send more mail…cards and notes. This post is a good reminder why I want to do that!

  6. This is so true: “But the ones with more than a signature are the ones I linger over. They have stories. They tell of connections.”

    I have to get better at sending some handwritten notes… because you are right – they do mean so much.

  7. Cindy, first of all my sincere condolences to you. Secondly, I am guilty of emailing and tweeting because of the convenience. You are right that personal, handwritten notes are special.

    • Thank you. I’m just as guilty so don’t feel bad. I think we all do the digital messages because they are faster and easier. I will say that digital is still better than nothing, but handwritten still says something more than the words on the card.

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