Words – good or bad – impact people
March 3, 2014
by Jenni Sebora

I recently finished writing letters of recommendation for students who are applying for acceptance into honor clubs, such as National Honor Society.

I have been very thoughtful in each letter I have written, to make it unique to the individual to which it pertains.

Individuals certainly share characteristics, but each letter should not ditto the other. A letter of recommendation for an individual is like a resumé – written by someone else – almost like a sales pitch on behalf of the person.

As I finished and reviewed each letter, it triggered my thoughts to how important it is to feel self-worth.

I thought about each individual and the positive contributions each is making to her school and community.

Whether they are accepted into the specific organization does not, or should not deter from that individual’s worth, importance, and contribution as a human being. That is what I wanted to tell each young person that I was “recommending.”

I felt good after I e-mailed each letter to the recipient. Each letter was unique to that person. I tried to put in examples of positive acts I observed that supported a positive attribute I highlighted in the letter.

It is great fun to pick out the great attributes of a person, and then more so, to put them in writing for them to read what someone else is noticing about them. This is food for the soul.

Even as an adult, I feel bubbly when someone acknowledges my efforts and deeds.

I recently received an e-mail from a parent of a student who I work with. She thanked me for the significant impact I have had on her daughter.

Those simple, but powerful words were an affirmation of what I do and why my job is so important to me – just a few words, but so meaningful.

A couple of years back, I received a Christmas ornament from a co-worker with the imprint, “To the world you are one person, but to one person, you are the world.”

We should remember that how we interact and treat others can have an impact on them. A kind word, a smile, an acknowledgement of deed can be so impactful to that person.

My thoughts kept rolling. I should write a “letter of recommendation” for each of my three children and my husband. I probably know them the best of anybody. This will give me the opportunity to focus on all of the wonderful things about them – no nit-picking, no negatives – just kind, honest words of affirmation.

Words written down for them to read and reread. Words written down for me to read and reread to remind me when I get “nit-picky” and crabby, and forget to not just focus on the things they need to do to keep the “world” moving.

Yep. We all need to step back. Breathe. Notice. Acknowledge the positive, wonderful, small, but huge deeds that our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers, and our neighbors do to make this world a good place.

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