I've been thinking about my high school math teacher a lot lately. I expect high school is difficult for everyone, or at least it feels that way. For me, my homelife challenges seemed enormous, my older brothers who had been my anchors were moving on and moving out, and I was feeling pretty alone. Because my school district was small, I had the fortune of having this gifted math teacher for 7th grade and then again for Algebra 1 (10th grade) Algebra 2 (11th grade) and some other higher math thing (Algebra 3/Trig?) for my senior year. Plus, when I dropped out of Chem 2 because of an unresolved conflict with another student, I signed up to be her teacher's aide for that open period. In addition to teaching me most of what I still know about math (I made a sine wave joke at a staff meeting at my Day Job yesterday and got good laughs from the other former math nerds in the room), I have no doubt that this wonderful woman, who took an interest in me and encouraged and supported me through some of my most difficult times, helped shape my future in astounding ways. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without her help back then. I saw her 10 years ago when I went home for my class reunion, but other than me sending her holiday cards intermittently, we haven't been in touch. She taught thousands of kids over the years and I know from my friends who were my classmates that she was very inflential in their lives also, so it's okay that we aren't penpals or anything. But when someone crosses my mind as much as she has been lately, I know I need to take some sort of action. This morning I dropped a postcard in the mail to thank her again. It made me feel good.
You have probably heard that there is some science to confirm that the practice of gratitude can boost your mood. I've known it for awhile now, but I've gotten out of the practice of it. Today I stepped back in. I invite you to do the same.