Word of Appreciation Matter

I’m up early this morning, and I already have tears. Good ones, though, thankfully.

Every morning, I wake up to an email inbox full of unread messages, at least 30 or 40 every day. A few are marketing emails, some are related to my professional mentoring group, others are humdrum parent questions or receipts from purchases made the previous day.

Occasionally, there’s The One, the email that’s scathing and chastising, or maybe just passive-aggressively direct and sweetly accusatory. In either event, that email rocks my peace, makes me question myself, and stirs fear in me. Fear to even open my Inbox in the morning.

Yep, it’s true. I’m often afraid to open my own email box most days, because I would really like to start the day off on a positive, let’s-go-make-magic, hopeful note. I don’t look forward to finding a gremlin email hiding there to derail my train of sunshine. I’m gun shy, you know? I have to bow up, put on the full armor of God, and open that Inbox. I don’t like the feeling at all, I know better, and it really shouldn’t be that way.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t get many of these. My dancers are delightful, smart, and sweet, as are their families. I am well taken care of and loved by many. Statistically, though, there are a few in every group who are going to pop up with a complaint, a snarl, an argument. It’s those who shake me up (despite my knowing better!) and cast a shadow on my day.

(Yeah, I know. Three hundred happy dancers, and one mom who complains should not rip into my otherwise happy day, but it does.)

But not today.

With one eye open and a reluctant click of the mouse, I opened my Inbox this morning to find the usual hoard of emails. One by one I clicked through, responded, deleted, forwarded…until about halfway down. Gold!

A mother wrote to me with appreciation. APPRECIATION! She praised our work, marveled at her daughter’s newfound capabilities and progress, and talked about how hopeful she is now considering the development and success of her sweet baby throughout our dance season. It was so beautifully written.


On a day I was afraid to open my own email Inbox, THIS greets me. THIS reminds me why I stress, why I quibble over details, why I put myself out there and take huge risks, and why I want to crawl back in here every day despite being sore and tired. Knowing we affected a sweet baby in such a big way (oh how I wish I could share her backstory with you…she is precious!) makes the tears, the email fear, and the tremendous load all worth it.

I think God knows right when to send people around to deliver messages exactly when we need them, and I needed this one today. My job is rather thankless in that there are no awards, little acknowledgement, no public recognition. So I take great reward from watching the kids grow, the hugs, the light bulb moments, and the accomplishments I get to not only witness but guide. I covet the smiles and store the memories. Those are my rewards.

But today I got to soak in kind words of appreciation that I often long for, and I am thankful for the acknowledgement, praise, and gratitude for what we do. I hope this mom feels my heart today, where ever she is. She certainly has mine.

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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