Wisdom #75 – An Honest Thank You Letter

It’s…not Wednesday, but this wisdom is too good to wait until Wednesday to be shared.

The deeper I get into my mindfulness practice the harder it is for me to be around inauthenticity.

The further I go with speaking my truth, the hard it is for me to be quiet and untruthful. I never lied, except for the occasional white lie, but I often said nothing at times when I could have said more.

All I want to do anymore is speak freely and honestly to everyone I encounter. I don’t think this is always appropriate, but often appreciated by strangers. Most of the strangers I encounter have become friends or are positively changed by my honesty.

When it comes to kids we ride a fine line between building them up and preparing them for a world that we, at the same time, try to shield them from seeing to much of before they are ready. Today’s wisdom comes teacher wrote an honest thank you note to her students. The letter is the perfect balance between honesty and protection. The article was originally posted on Upworthy and written by Ally Hirschlag

This teacher’s thank-you letter to her students went viral because we all needed it.

‘I want you to know I’m rooting for you from the sidelines, silently cheering you on, even if it’s a decade from now.’

At the end of the creative marketing course Jessica Langer was teaching at Ryerson University in Toronto, she wanted to find a special way to say thank you to her students.

“I’ve had really great students in the past, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had a group that’s so big [about 90] and yet so uniformly great,” writes Langer in an email, explaining that her students are “rightfully anxious about the future.”

“The creative industries are changing so rapidly,” she explains. “It’s hard enough to graduate into a field that’s stable: to graduate into an industry that’s going through such change is anxiety-making. I wanted to give them some reassurance.”

She decided to send her students a heartfelt letter, imparting one final lesson.

Her e-mail is an honest depiction of the obstacles and challenges she knows her students will face in the real world.

And not just in their chosen field of marketing either. More than 4 out of 5 students graduate college without a job lined up according to The Washington Post. In 2014, the overall unemployment rate for people under 25 in the United States was 14.5% — more than twice the national average at that time.

Langer concludes the letter by offering a perspective on success and failure that reminds her students not to define themselves by their obstacles or setbacks by writing (emphasis added):

“These things happen to everyone. They are not a reflection of who you are: they are a reflection of the circumstances, usually outside your control. And if you have a setback, please don’t give up. I want you to know I’m rooting for you from the sidelines, silently cheering you on, even if it’s a decade from now.”

In response, Langer’s students flooded her inbox with gratitude. One student named Blayne Stone, who had been rather quiet in class, sent her an email that said he would carry the lessons he learned from her with him his whole life. Another wrote a letter to Langer’s department asking they keep her on at Ryerson.

One of Langer’s students was so moved by the letter that she posted it to Twitter, where it quickly went viral.

Langer’s message about personal value resonated far and wide beyond the doors of her classroom. It was a message many people needed to hear.