Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Power of "Thanks"

This past week, I asked the second grade class I read to if they gave away one of the Valentine stickers I gave them. Nods and smiles filled the room. Satisfied the majority had followed through, I moved on to a Robert Sabuda pop-up book.  Table by table, I walked among the students and opened a page of Winter's Tale.  Eyes popped. Some gasped. It's magic! It's a miracle! were exclaimed again and again.

While I still had their attention, I gave each child a blank card and envelope. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," were Snoopy's words on the front. I added, "This is what bucket-fillers do. Sign it and give it to someone who's done something nice for you. Pay close attention to their face when they read it, so you can tell us about it next week." Linda Lou asked if she could write hers in Chinese. Sure. She and her family moved here last year from China and didn't speak any English, just Mandarin. I admire their courage to start anew.

The Power of "Thanks" by best selling thriller author Brad Meltzer  was featured in the January 27, 2013 Parade Magazine Views. Go to and search for his full story.
Briefly: He wrote, "Shortly after 9/11, I got an email from a sailor stationed on a submarine.  He had found one of my novels and was writing to say thank you for entertaining him.
"If a novel could help take a service member's mind off things, I wanted to send many more books."  I made some calls and publishers delivered 40,000 books to overseas troops anonymously.
"Fast forward 11 years: I was on a USO tour with other authors . . . visiting eight bases in 10 days. In a briefing room, a dark-haired captain from Albuquerque turned to me and said, 'I want to thank you for donating all those books.'"
"I had traveled there to 'repay' the thanks from the sailor on the submarine. But here was this captain thanking me."
When Meltzer got home, he tracked down the sailor. When he expressed how his note touched him, the sailor was quiet. He asked if he was okay. . . The sailor said he'd lost his mother to breast cancer a few days earlier. Meltzer said, "My mother passed from breast cancer, too. I think I'm supposed to give you a message. 'Our mother's never leave us. Ever.'"
Meltzer closes with, "Sometimes we feel alone in the universe. But sometimes it is clear that we are profoundly connected."

2013 Red Convertible Travel Series

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