THREE years ago my schoolmates started a WhatsApp group and it suddenly struck me and a few of my classmates that there were so many who’d played an important role in our lives. I began to think, and realized that so often we take time to thank people who are important, but forget to thank those who we think are little people who played big roles but were too unimportant we felt to get our thanks.
A man I knew once reflected upon the great number of un-thanked people in his life. Those who had helped nurture him, inspire him or who cared enough about him to leave a lasting impression. One was a schoolteacher he’d not heard of in many years. But he remembered that she had gone out of her way to put a love of poetry in him.
Mohan wrote a letter of thanks to her. The reply he received, written in the feeble scrawl of the aged, began, “My dear Mohan.” He was delighted. Now over 60, he didn’t think there was a person left in the world who would call him “Mohan.” Here is that letter: “My dear Mohan,
I cannot tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely and, like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue-cold morning and it cheered me as nothing has in many years.”
Not prone to cry easily, Mohan wept over that note. She was one of the great un-thanked people from his past. You know them. We all do. The teacher who made a difference. That PT master we’ll never forget. The music instructor, or Sunday school worker who helped us believe in ourselves. That scout leader who cared. We all remember people who shaped our lives in various ways. People whose influence changed us. My friend found a way to show his appreciation to the smaller people– he wrote them letters.
Who are some of the un-thanked people from your past? It would come as a surprise to you to find out later that nobody has thanked them: The driver who took you to school, the ayah who ironed your uniform, the nurse at the hospital who cared for you while you were petrified!
You’ve taken them for granted all these years. Never had time to be grateful for the times they helped you, now’s the time to do it: Just write them a note and say, “Thank you..!”