What's in Your Wallet
The other day I heard a story that warmed my heart, and I will try to recall it in enough detail in hopes that it may be meaningful for you as well. The story takes place in a small town in which the high school does a camping trip with its incoming freshman. This trip is meant to bond the students so that they make friends and have a wonderful high school experience. As it were, a happy side effect that they attribute to this camping trip is that the students have higher grade point averages and lower dropout rates than other schools in their state.
During this camping trip the students do an activity in which they are put into groups and within that group each person takes a turn in front of their group. During their turn the other members of the group are asked to write out on a small piece of paper and then tell that person something about them that they had noticed and appreciate about them. Not something like, “I like how you are so good at basketball”, but something like, “I really like how you went over to the girl in the corner and checked in with her to make sure she was okay and encouraged her to join in.”
This next part is juicy! The person who is receiving the notes and the voiced words of appreciation are only allowed to respond in 3 ways: “thank you,” “thank you very much,” or “thank you, could you repeat that.” I love this so much because it teaches young people how to take in a positive statement about themselves without all the awkward things that many of us do when we are acknowledged. And gives them an opportunity to take it in on a deep level.
As the story goes, there was a car accident in this town in which one of the former students from the high school was killed. In going through his wallet guess what they found? They found one of the sheets of paper from that camping trip. A note that was so important that it stayed with him until his death.
I repeat this story because it reminds me of something that I often encourage people to do, say kind, meaningful words to one another, especially those that we love (and writing them down and giving it to them is great, too). First and foremost, we are not guaranteed anything beyond this moment and if we truly understood that, we would likely go about our lives differently. Secondly, we simply do not get enough feedback that who we are, what we do and what we say has an impact on others. We have no idea that the moment when you looked someone you know, or that perfect stranger, in the eye and genuinely listened to them that they felt valued, it changed their day, or even saved their life.
The work I do with individuals is centered around learning how to be in the present moment and helping them understand their value, which is where true freedom is. No one told me that I had permission to experience life this way, so I am giving you that permission, in case no one has told you, and, I would love to show you how to do it. You deserve it. Let's connect next week.
Erin "here to remind you of your value" Mac