15-Day Happy Challenge
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Challenge 1: Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Do This

Challenge 1: Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Do This

Challenge 1: Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Do This

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Welcome to Day 1: Happy Challenge

 

*If you’re just here to read the letter, you can skip halfway down the page. If you’re here for the happy challenge, don’t go anywhere, and read on.

 

Today’s challenge is simple, yet so many of us have begun to lose the art of it.  Today you will write a letter to someone. That’s it. Yep. Seriously. But keep reading before you start, as this is a challenge and I plan on challenging you, at least a little bit.

 

Now, this letter can be to anyone, but should revolve around the idea of gratitude. Remember, you are looking to build your happiness here and one of the ways to do that is to recognize what you are grateful for in your life. As for today, the focus will be on the who, not the what. We’ll save the what for another day.

 

Back to the letter… Its focus should be around reasons you are thankful for having this person in your life. Or perhaps it is a person you have had in your life, and that’s ok, too. Take time to consider this and how you will go about crafting your letter. And just to be clear, an email doesn’t count as your letter. Get out the pen and paper, and get to it! Complaining about cramped hands is not allowed. That is called an excuse and we are not taking those here. No excuses, just opportunities.

 

You may find yourself in the predicament of not knowing who to write to because you’ve just got that many influential people in your life. I’m here to tell you, you better not be viewing that as an obstacle. If only we could all be in that position the world would be a happier place, for sure.

 

Now, because this is a challenge, I am asking you to think outside the box. Try not to pick a parent/sibling/child. You know what I’m saying. And if you already had one of those people in mind, I know you’re probably gritting your teeth at me right now, but I can’t see or hear you so it’s okay. I’m not offended. But I still expect you to choose someone else. The reason is this: those people are obviously great people to have in our lives, and for many of us, they truly have been the most influential. But, challenge yourself to think of someone who had an impact in some way, shape, or form, that perhaps you’ve not really focused on, or at least not for a while. Of course, if that’s too much to ask, I’m fine for you to just pick anyone. This challenge is for you, and I don’t really know who you’re writing to. My goal over the next 15 days is helping to inspire a happier you. I surely don’t intend to lose you on Day 1. With that said, do whatever feels right. But before you start, please take the time to read the letter I wrote to my person. It holds a very important message. You will understand at the end.

 

My Letter of Gratitude to Someone Special

 

Dear Mrs. Crosby,

I wonder why I waited so long to tell you what an impression you had on me. It’s hard to believe that over two and a half decades have passed by, and yet if feels like only yesterday I was sitting in your classroom reading Bridge To Terabithia, which, by the way, is one of the most amazing books I have read to this day. Disney has since released it in movie form, and both of my girls have thoroughly enjoyed it, but it isn’t the same as the book, and I thank you for introducing me to it. What I remember most, though, is what you said to me (and probably the other three classmates in my reading group, too) when you assigned me the book. You told me you could see I was mature enough to read the book, that there would be language that others wouldn’t be able to handle, as they were too silly, and that only a special select few would be grouped for this book.

 

I would have never told you, but those comments were so impressionable on a little introvert like me that they stuck like glue and I simply beamed on the inside. Now, as a teacher myself, I recognize in hindsight, that you probably could read on my face how delighted I was to hear you say this, but the fact that you never made it a big deal was equally impressionable.

 

I have to be honest, I could go on for days about the memories I have of being in your class. Like the student teacher we had that read us Lost in the Barrens, like the way when we finished our math lesson we would come back to your desk and you would correct it on the spot, and place a sticker on our page if we got most of them right, or even like the way the sunlight would trickle in the window in the afternoon and highlight the ugly tiles on the floor.

 

What stands out the most though of that entire year, is a science experiment you conducted — or rather, had us conduct. You gave everyone in the class an ice cube and asked us to place it anywhere we wanted. The goal was to see whose would last the longest before melting away. Boy, did I ever want to have the last cube standing. Every student but one — who did not happen to be me — placed their cubes around the room, on tables, on books, in the window (yes, really, but we won’t judge), and in the cupboards.

 

But this one student did something ridiculous, in my ever-so-unknowing eyes. She took the cloth on the blackboard ledge — it’s almost funny for me to write that since I haven’t seen a chalkboard in a classroom in a very long time — and she wrapped her ice cube up, very tight. Now, I remember seeing her do this and thinking it was the silliest thing. Why would she do that? The way I saw it was this: when I wrap myself up in a blanket, I get warm. That was all I needed to associate with in order to be certain her ice cube would melt first. I almost felt embarrassed for her. Either way, it was quickly forgotten when we were called to eat lunch and sent off to play outside.

 

In life, we all need humbling moments, and what happened next was one of mine. When the lunch bell went and we arrived back in class, you were smiling, and I knew you were going to announce a winner. Everyone scrambled to find their cubes and eagerly compare them to each other. There were small bits of ice and lots of water but that didn’t bother you. Then you asked everyone to gather around as you held a cloth in your hand. You tenderly unwrapped the chalk-covered blanket only to reveal an ice cube that was pretty much as big as it was to begin with. There were “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd and a lot of attention on the student who came up with such a brilliant idea. The rest is a little fuzzy, but you can’t really fault me after almost three decades, right?

 

Aside from me getting a reality check that day, that I couldn’t always be right, this moment was special because of the impact it had on me for a different reason. I guess that’s obvious, since I’m sitting here writing to you about it so many years later. This is the thing. You could have simply sat us in our desks and explained that insulating ice protects it from the heat in the air, blah blah blah… but no. You let us discover that on our own. You gave us a moment to learn and gave us a reason to remember. This is what good teaching is and if nobody every told you that, I am here to tell you now. You were amazing at what you did.

 

Every single time you have seen me over the past twenty-seven years, you have never failed to stop and talk to me. Any teacher will tell you that as the years go on, it is very easy to trip up on names, and even faces as students grow into adults and become blended into our past. But you, you never faltered once. Even if years had passed, you never failed to acknowledge me with an immediate smile and conversation. You even sat down to eat your ice cream with me and my girls last summer when we bumped into you at the farmer’s market.

 

Mrs. Crosby, I want you to know, I realize I’ve had ample opportunity to tell you how much you inspired my life. I chose to keep that to myself and I don’t know why. I don’t know why, especially, because anything I had to say, I am sure would have warmed your heart. I wonder why it is we do that. I mean, don’t you find that people all too often feel, think, or tell other people heart-warning things about someone else, but never tell the person that matters most?

 

So I’m taking time today to tell you what you’ve meant to me. First, I want to apologize for never having told you before this. You were my favorite teacher, your kindness embedded into a special place in my soul, and you were one terrifically, amazing teacher. But most of all, with a heavy heart, I want to say how very sorry I am that I let the opportunity to tell you these things in person, get to a point where you will never be able to hear them.

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Crosby. 1954-2017. The memories of you will never die.

 

Sincerely,

A girl who still feels like your grade 5 student,

Rachel

 

If you’ve made it this far, I hope this is inspiration enough to get you started on your own letter. Unfortunately, I cannot give my letter to the person I am grateful for having entered my life, but I am in hopes it reaches others who feel the same way and who were also touched by her.

 

Let me know in the comments below who you chose to write to and why. I truly can’t wait to hear from you. And if you want these challenges straight to your inbox, sign up below.

 

Remember: Life is what you make it. Take lots of pictures. 

 

Happy Challenge: Day 2

 

 

15-Day Happy Challenge

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Rachel is an optimist at heart, always trying to find a way to inspire happiness in those around her. She is a mom to two wonderful girls. A teacher as well, in her spare time Rachel blogs about life, happiness, family, and more. Join along and subscribe over there in the right sidebar. You don't want to miss out on anything.

34 Comments
  • Christine says:

    Rachel, Thank you so much for sharing your letter with us. I think its true we can sometimes wait till its to late to tell people how much they mean to us. I think I’m going to write my high school English teacher. Her love of writing impacts my life even now. Thank you again

  • Linda says:

    The only word that comes to my mind after reading your letter is Beautiful. Rachel you continue to inspire me. I am going to write to a dear friend who was there to support and love me through a dark time in my life. While I know she knows how important she is to me, I’ve never articulated it in a letter. ❤️ Thank you for the inspiration. 😊

  • Carmen says:

    What a great idea and what a fun story you shared in the letter to your teacher. What a special lady.

  • Alicia says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I always tried to tell my grandparents what they meant to me, but now that my grandma passed I think of things I wish I would have told her. I wish I would have told her how beautiful she was. She was my rock, she taught me a lot, and she is missed so much! I would say I would write my letter to her, but I do journal a lot about her and sometimes to her.

    I think I would write my letter to my 6th grade teacher. She taught me so much and in a fun way that always stuck with me. I even teach my kids the way she taught our class. Her name was Miss Dillie. I remember so much about her. The last day of school we walked to Dairy Queen and she bought the whole 6th grade class Dilly Bars….lol.

    • Rachel says:

      I love this! I wish more people would tell those who have impacted them how influential they have been! And if there is anyone you know who could benefit from this story, please share. If we can spread positivity throughout this world, more people would smile!

  • Stacey says:

    What a wonderful letter, even if she cant read it. I teach high school, and some kids tell you how you affected their lives, but most of mine don’t. I also could write this letter to some teachers I’ve had. I do agree that it’s important to not wait to do things or tell people you love them. Tomorrow is not guaranteed!

    • Rachel says:

      I bet there are lots of your students who ‘think’ but just don’t tell you. How heart-warming when you DO get to hear it though. It makes the job worth it, right?

  • Shelanda says:

    What a beautiful letter. Teachers spend more time with our kids than most parents do. It’s an underpaid and unappreciated job.

    • Rachel says:

      Totally agree, but what makes them special is they don’t think twice about it. It just comes with the territory. 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    Very nice letter, I like this idea of writing to someone about your gratitude for them. I can’t think of who I should write to right now, but will be thinking about it today!

  • Emily says:

    I think this is a great idea. It can really help people to know the positive impact they have had and that the efforts are noticed. My mom is one of my heroes and someone I should write an appreciation letter to.

    • Rachel says:

      I hope you do! Although she likely already knows how special she is to you, there is just something about having a tangible (the letter) that holds the most impact!

  • Bola says:

    This is so deep. An attitude of gratitude. Thanks for sharing. I have some people in mind already.

  • Lisa says:

    Why are my eyes watering? As a teacher, this letter is so heart-warming. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kim says:

    Beautiful, I love the story about the ice cube. With all the negativity out there, I think its important to thank the people who really impact our lives. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks! I believe that, too! If there’s anyone you know who could benefit from this story, please share it out. You’re right, too much negativity. I hope to spread positivity, and encourage people to show their gratitude.

  • Sarah says:

    I tend to get caught up in my own life and forget to tell other people how amazing they are. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Michelle says:

    Some days, it feels like the only thing I can be grateful for is finding matching socks. But choosing to be grateful for the matching socks is a start. Choosing to find the good is hard, but worth it.

    • Rachel says:

      Choosing to find the good is definitely difficult some days, that is the truth. But this is the exact reason I created the 15-Day Challenge, as a reminder and reason to focus on something positive. I hope you’ll considering joining the challenge if you haven’t already!

  • Terri says:

    What a good idea. Tell them how they move you, before it’s too late…

  • Melissa says:

    This is a very good idea!

  • Joanne says:

    I love this. It is a great challenge

  • Nicole says:

    what a great idea, so many people to be grateful for!

  • Kourtney says:

    This is a really neat challenge. Letter writing is definitely a lost art…so sad! I love your desire to challenge others to bring it back!

  • Lisa says:

    What a great idea! But tough to pick just one person to write to!

  • Kristin says:

    Aww I love this! Thanks for sharing!

  • Autumn says:

    This is so precious ❤️❤️ And I never would have thought to wrap an ice cube in a towel in 5th grade!

  • MissJess says:

    First off I want to say how your letter brought me right back to my own childhood. It made me think of all the fun projects and amazing books that were read to us. It also made me think about some of the teachers I had.
    Second of all what a beautiful picture you painted with your words. It gives you such a warm fuzzy feeling and I feel like I can see your memories.
    Lastly, im so sorry for your loss, of both a chance to tell how how meaningful she was to you and for the loss of her beautiful soul. This almost brought me to tears, which is not at all easy to do. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Rachel says:

    MissJess, thank you so much for your kind words. This was probably one of the easiest posts I’ve written because I felt like I was 11 years old again. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • I think writing a letter of gratitude is a great thing to do. I love this challenge.

  • Victoria says:

    This is so lovely! :’) Thank you so much for sharing this, you inspired me, for sure.

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