Are you going to write the letters?

“Mrs. Sullivan, are you going to write the letters?”

I have written two curricula and hosted three extra classes unexpectedly for them this year. I have written the students in those classes something most everyday. I have helped with their senior play. I have counseled and cajoled them into sticking with things and giving their best. I have been there through break-ups and the falling away of friendships and minor tragedies. I have, best I know how, been there. I have not yet, written senior letters. I wrote them the past two years. I guess these seniors heard about it.

I shrugged my shoulders at the question. I now have some of these students 4, yes 4, times in one day. You would think that they would never want to hear my name again. ( Some probably don’t and I don’t blame them.) I thought since I had been writing and sharing so much of what I was writing with them that I could get away with not writing the letters. ( It took me days to write them last year.)

I’m not real sure that they mean much to most of the students. A few of them have come  back and told me otherwise. Most of the letters probably got a quick skim and ended up in a wad in the bottom of a book-bag, if they made it past my trash can. Two years ago, one of the girls cried in class as she read it. She didn’t see what I shared coming. One girl made a trip back from college to tell me what it did for her. I got an extra big hug at graduation from one fella. I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging. That’s three stories of some impact. I wrote 60 -70 letters. That batting average isn’t so great.

I’m really weighing this. It’s so much work and honestly, I’m pretty overwhelmed right now. It’s not something I can just do for a few of them. It really is an all or nothing proposition.

The girl who asked me about the letters today has really blue eyes, strikingly so, like ol’ Trent’s. I keep seeing those eyes and remembering notes she wrote me when she had my bible class, the christmas card she wrote me and the gifts she made for me. Most anybody who writes a note likes to get them, a lot. It’s usually a favorite thing. This girl has had a tough year. She has worked really hard in school. And she has opened her heart in so many ways to God’s love and to growth.

What could possibly keep me from writing her something worthy  of who she is and who she is growing to be? Could having to write a few more letters?


See y’all next week. I’ve got a few letters to write.



Filed under observation

6 responses to “Are you going to write the letters?

  1. PJ

    You have to, suck it up.

  2. Margaret

    I like that you write them letters, and I bet even if they don’t keep the actual note, the words are written on their hearts.

  3. What a beautiful gift.

  4. I keep the letters and cards that have impacted me. One from a high school English teacher and one from my youth group leader particularly stand out to me. They both saw something in me that I didn’t know existed. Our words have such powerful effect! You may say that your batting average is low but in terms of impact on those people that have come back (which doesn’t include those who were impacted but haven’t let you know) you’re hitting ’em out of the park. Love learning this about you!

  5. Wow. Consider me impressed. I’m trying not to compare myself to others but dude, Kim, you’ve blown me out of the water. Letters to ALL of your students? That’s borderline insane! I wrote letters to each of the 11 girls on my team and felt pretty proud of myself.

    I know it takes forever but you’re right- being a teacher affords these valuable opportunities to affirm kids and even though it’s not required and is time consuming and some might not even care, it is certainly worth it- worth it for that handful who need affirmation today and for the others who will need it later and will remember these truths you wrote about them.

    Way to go. I’m not inspired enough to write my own letters to each student but I will work on affirming them more:)

  6. Man, but don’t those 3 or 4 stories make it worth it? Or maybe you have to write 60 or 70 letters to get to those 3? That’s God showing up through those students’ responses, if you ask me. What a gift!

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