Dipo Adebayo
4 min readOct 5, 2022

The Teacher who almost died by suicide.

(A word of encouragement changes everything)

I once heard the story of an elementary school teacher, who had been widowed as a young woman, and had not remarried but spent all her energy teaching a small group of students, year in, year out.

Unfortunately, despite her relentless effort, many of them turned out to be rascals and rebels, largely due to the unhealthy environment they lived.

Over time, the elementary teacher became depressed; the one thing she had committed her life to seemed like a failure, what then was the point of living? she thought.

One day, alone in her room, on a cold December night, her feelings of failure, emptiness and depression hit harder than ever. As she lay in her bed, contemplating thoughts of suicide, her phone rang. And rang. And rang.

Finally, she picked up. "Hello". "Hello ma", answered a fine baritone voice. "My name is Harry." "Hi Harry", the woman slowly responded. "How can I help you?".

The man continued, and said something like this: "You were my teacher ma’am, several years ago. But you were more than that, you were the mom I never had.”

You not only taught me my subjects, but you taught me life principles that laid the foundation for the success I have today, in my family, and in work. You showed who I am — you made me see my potential in God and helped me see I was valuable and my life made a difference in the world.

It’s because of you I’m who I am today. And for that, I’m deeply and eternally grateful. If you don’t mind, myself, my wife and kids would be coming to spend Christmas with you, hope that’s okay?

Tears misted her eyes. It was the best Christmas she ever had.

This Christmas, we all could be Harry. Carefully thinking of all who have made significant impact in our lives, and giving them the gift of our gratitude.

And don’t look too far in thinking of whom to say thank you to. Start with those closest to you. Your family, spouse, friend, a mentor or teacher or perhaps, a trustworthy employee, or a kind boss.

Life gets hard at times and sometimes all we need to get through difficult times is a word of encouragement or appreciation from a friend. As the Chinese saying goes, "One kind word can warm 3 winter months."

In the end, we all want to feel like we are making a difference in the life of another human being;

take some time to say thank you to those that have made a difference in yours.

Happiness lies on the other side of gratitude.

Make someone’s Christmas this season. Give them the gift of your gratitude.

You may be wondering, “so how do I show gratitude?"

Be specific and personal. Say exactly what you are grateful for. Say what the person did for you and how it made you feel or the impact it made in your life.

For example, don’t just say, "thank you for your kindness to me", be specific, say this: "(Insert person’s name e.g Emmanuel), Thank you for the time you took time off work to check on me when I was sick. It meant a lot to me."

Or, "Shade, thank you for standing up for me when I got bullied in school/work. Your friendship helped me build confidence. I’ll never forget you."

For more detail on how to show gratitude, and connect with others, read this— This is why your texts get ignored: https://link.medium.com/MCH1xlTQ4vb

Merry Christmas to you my friend.

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Hi. I'm Dipo. I write, speak and train on interpersonal/softskills, teenagers, emotional healing, and overcoming fear, failure, shame, rejection, and other self-limiting obstacles to your progress.

Generally, I share content on personal development. I love to see people grow and become better. You can get free access to my articles here: https://bit.ly/3MB3CUu

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Dipo Adebayo

I am a water engineer, softskills coach, writer & teen counselor. I write on hope and rising above shame, rejection, fear & failure. Follow on IG @dipoadebayo