An Open Thank You to the Teachers Who Collectively Helped Me Parent for the Last 22 Years

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Dear Teachers,

Collectively, you’ve spent 22 years teaching my three kids, starting with Montessori Pre-School. That’s 22 years of personal investment into the futures of three of the most important humans in my life. Considering I’ve only been a parent for 25 years, I’d say your role in nurturing those I love the most ranks a close second as far as their holistic formation. That’s why I love this pic (circa 2015) of one of you influential diamonds walking arm-in-arm with me, my husband, and our senior daughter—signifying that we raised up this girl ‘together.’

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Gah. My eyes are leaking.

Sadly, I’ve not been able to thank all of you personally. The sheer number of you who have impacted the heart, mind, and soul of my children is beyond when I consider they attended a combined nine schools and universities. This doesn’t even take into account all of you who were ‘teachers’ in the form of coaches, mentors, counselors, youth leaders, and plain old caring adults.

Hard swallow. My heart is overflowing.

Many of you never receive the appreciation you deserve for all the hard work you put into caring for children that are not your own. Rarely are you appropriately acknowledged and affirmed for the above and beyond actions you take after hours and on weekends. This oversight means I’m certain not enough of you are esteemed for the important part you play in the overall development and education of a child from pre-school to college graduation.

The thing is I know most of you don’t expect the accolades. You choose to be a teacher because you love children—my children, all children—and have the utmost regard for their growth and well-being. There are no words to express how I feel as a mother, knowing you felt compelled to help my child soar.

You matter.

Each and every one of you.

Whether you helped any of my children for five minutes or five years, I appreciate you.

Whether you taught them how to multiply or play a team sport, I appreciate you.

Whether you showed them how to draw or play piano, I appreciate you.

Whether you taught them about the periodic table or how to speak a foreign language, I appreciate you.

Whether you taught them about history or instilled a love of reading, I appreciate you.

Whether you taught them empathy by really listening or empowered them to use their gifts, I appreciate you.

Whether you showed them the love of God or encouraged them to love themselves, I appreciate you.

Whether you allowed them to vent about me or nudged them to be a leader, I appreciate you.

My appreciation for every action, big and small, could fill a Bible-length book. Please consider this love letter a sentimental round of applause and humble bow of sincere gratitude. I have mad respect for what you’ve done for my family.

You matter. You made a difference.

I COULD NOT have done it without any of you.

Thank you.


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Shelby Spear
Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and pro-LOVE, Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life with her hubby of 25 years. You can read her stories on her blog at shelbyspear.com, around the web, and in print at Guideposts. Shelby's new book, co-authored with Lisa Leshaw, is now available: How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.")