I am thankful for you.
For your uniqueness, for your existence, for the lens through which only you can see the world.
I am thankful for your courage, your stories.
That you feel free enough to write about what you know, what you’ve lived, endured, and overcome in your young lives.
That you have the strength to share your early taste of loss—of pets, of parents, of siblings, of homes.
That you escaped abusive homes for ones where you could thrive.
That you left another country for mine—for ours.
That you learned from watching the failures and mistakes of others close to you.
That you learned to forgive others and even yourself.
That you learned to persevere, that you accomplished what you set your mind to because you kept trying.
That you faced your fears and came safely through.
I am thankful for what you teach me each day about listening, seeing, discerning, wondering.
I am thankful for the reminder that curiosity and questioning are natural, that creating something from whatever happens to be lying nearby is a hallmark of the human soul.
I am thankful for the beauty you bring to the world.
I thank you for daring to pour your hearts onto the page, for laboring at it, and for your truth.
I thank you for the unparalleled honor of reading your words, for the moments of laughing with you, crying with you, and standing in awe of you. For the privilege of helping you capture your ideas and communicate them clearly, of seeing you realize the power of your own voices. Of simply being on the receiving end of the important messages you have within you.
If I have inspired any of you, know that I am inspired a hundredfold in return.
Keep writing, Children, and I will do the same, for we owe it to ourselves and to each other—we need to read our stories as much as we need to write them.
I carry you and your stories, your abiding images, with me always.
Always believe in yourself, for I believe in you. In who you are now, in who you will become.
With love and profound gratitude,
your writing teacher
Inspired by students I’ve taught and others whose work I’ve read.
Thanksgiving challenge: To whom are you deeply grateful, and why? Write this person a letter expressing your gratitude. If your person is still living, read your letter aloud to them face to face or by phone. If your person is no longer living, read it aloud in a place that’s meaningful to you. Celebrate what this person has added to your life. Celebrate the power of writing and the transformative power of gratitude.