Friday, July 13, 2012

The Power of Validation

In high school, I had a few very influential teachers.  These were true mentors, people who shaped and guided the course of my life, who encouraged me to go on and pursue things that I might otherwise not have had the courage to pursue.

I have recently interacted with one of these great teachers on facebook.  No matter what negative things we may say about facebook, it has done some marvelous things.  If we forget about all the trite motivational posters, the thousandfold sharing of cute puppy photos, and the political vitriol, we are still left with the fact that it has almost miraculously brought us together with friends we thought were lost to us forever.

My interaction with my 10th Grade English teacher caused me to go back and re-read the words she had written in my high school yearbook in 1976, the year I graduated.  I almost didn't need to look at them because I nearly have them memorized.  Over the years, I have read and re-read these words many times.  If I have ever in my life received a more powerful validation from someone whom I so greatly respect and admire, I don't know when that could have been.  These words have guided me my entire adult life.

Dear Paul,

You are without a doubt one of the most talented and creative people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I hope that your talents will continue to find expression in many varied forms.  It would be a crime to limit an imagination such as yours.  I hope to read about you in the future.  Do something fabulous, so I can say, "I knew him when!"

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I don't know if I've yet done anything fabulous, but the wish in the second sentence seems to have been fulfilled.  I am so grateful to have had this teacher, and her words to guide me.