OF FAITH AND FABLES
By Bob Haynes
The Power Of Appreciation
“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.” Albert Schweitzer:
With the Holidays fast approaching, I’d like to suggest a truly powerful gift that we can give to others that just might be the most welcome of all – the power of appreciation.
R. Earl Farnsworth was the man who helped shape my life from the time I was in the sixth grade until I had graduated from high school. He served as Principal of my High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but my first knowledge of him was at something called “Stay at Home Camp” for youngsters who didn’t have the money to be sent to summer camps in exotic places. He served as counselor and director of that summer program and was a remarkable role model for me and for hundreds of youngsters. He set all of us on a path toward goals that we would never have considered otherwise.
I recently came across a story by Barbara Glanz—an accomplished author and lecturer. Her book “The Simple Truths of Appreciation” will become Christmas gifts for my family and a number of my friends.
Recently, she talked to a group of business men. She said: “I ask my audiences to shut their eyes and think about someone who at some time in their lives rekindled their inner light. I leave the room in silence for several minutes. It is always a profound experience as they remember the joy they received from being appreciated by someone when they needed it the most. Afterwards I ask them to write down the name of the person they thought of and to commit to their own act of appreciation by letting that person know in the next 72 hours that he or she was thought of. I suggest a phone call, a note, or even a little prayer if they are no longer living.
She said, “After one moving session, a gentleman came up and thanked me for creating a new awareness in him. He said he thought of his eighth grade literature teacher because she was everyone’s favorite teacher, and had really made a difference in all of their lives. He tracked his teacher down and he wrote to her. The following week he received this letter from her: She said: “You will never know how much your letter meant to me. I am 83 years old, and I am living all alone in one room. My friends are all gone. My family’s gone. I taught 50 years and yours is the first “thank you” letter I have ever gotten from a student. Sometimes I wonder what I did with my life. I will read and reread your letter until the day I die.” He just sobbed on the phone. He said, “She is always the one we talk about at every reunion. She was everyone’s favorite teacher – we loved her!” But no one had ever told her… until she received his letter.”
Glanz hoped that each person who read her book would become more loving and appreciative as they go through their daily lives… and there are life-changing gifts we can give by simply sharing our appreciation with those who have been positive lights in our lives. We should all remember “the power of appreciation” and the impact it can have on those who have rekindled our flame during our lives. Shalom!