Her reply was a personal anecdote about a former teacher that was very moving. I asked her if I could share it here on my blog and received her permission.
Here is what she wrote:
My thanks to Michelle for sharing this with me (and now you) and for shining a ray of sunshine into what was an INCREDIBLY long and difficult work week.
I know you’re probably busy as can be but I want to tell you a quick story that I think when times are overwhelming you can use to get you through. I grew up in a small town of Irvington, New Jersey. As I got closer to secondary school, the town started to take a turn for the worse with violence, drugs, etc. Each year that we came back from summer break we would find out that a large amount of friends had moved away with no idea where they went. Thanks to the internet, Facebook, etc. we were able to actually find a vast number of people who turned out MIA from elementary school. This past October we had a reunion, and it was not for high school but for all the kids that went to the same grammar school through the years. One of the biggest surprises was my fifth grade math teacher showed up. Here I am a 44 year old woman standing in the midst of a crowd and the second I heard “MICHELLE MILLER” coming from behind me, I about wet myself because my brain associated my name being said in that voice, with the next sentence being, “GO TO THE OFFICE”. I spun around and about died, my heart went wild. We all gathered around Mr. Knisch and listened to stories of “us” most of the night. He remembered every single one of us and where we sat, and who we sat near, and some of the funniest stories ever. Don’t worry; I’m wrapping this up (LOL). When he went to leave, it hit me!!! I grabbed his arm, spun him to me and through tears and sobs, I THANKED him. I went on to explain to him that through the years if anyone may have complimented me on being a kind person or another positive attribute, that so much of it had to do with him and all my other grammar school teachers who honestly instilled sooooo much in me. I went on to tell him how I carry him and the others in my heart and because of who they were and what they gave I’m a better person (and at 44 years old, I didn’t have to do it for a better grade). J The next thing I knew, me and about 20 others (guys and girls) were standing there looking at one our first heroes and we all had tears in our eyes.
John, when it gets so tough you question what you’re doing………stop!!!! This world is not like it was when we were young and these kids have sooooooo much more against them; with gangs, violence, drugs, etc…. Remember, you may not feel it now but you are a “first hero.”