How to be sure you say the important things

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One of my favorite Christmas gifts was the book – “I’m Proud of You – My Friendship with Fred Rogers” by Ft. Worth Star-Telegram journalist, Tim Madigan.

Those of us on this side of 50 likely spent a lot of hours watching Mr. Rogers with our kids. His calm demeanor and the kind and respectful way he communicated with children impacted several generations of children.

This book, however, is not about Mr. Rogers’ impact on children, but about his impact on Tim Madigan, a journalist who was sent to interview Fred for a story in 1995 and the transforming friendship they developed.

Throughout the years of their friendship, until Fred died in 2003, Tim faced the things all of us face – what Fred would call his “furies”. Marital problems, lingering hurts from childhood, the death of loved ones, criticism of his work, and depression. Tim shares with candor what he was going through and the wise, kind and encouraging words that Fred Rogers always shared with him through letters, phone calls, visits and e-mails.

My take away from this book was the power of our words. Not just how the hurtful things that are said that can wound a person and stay with them for a long time. But how a kind word, a word of encouragement, an acknowledgement of someone’s value can have such an impact.

I try to live by the adage (with varying degrees of success) “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. But Tim shares that part of his pain was from the things he DIDN’T hear from his father growing up. Now he had a good father who loved him and he knew it. But he never remembered hearing the words he longed to hear from his dad – “I’m proud of you”.

So on this side of 50, I want to make a point of telling people what they mean to me and not leaving things unsaid – thinking they “just know”. Which is all too easy to do with those we are closest to.

Don't leave the important things unsaid, thinking that they JUST KNOW. #SayIt Click To Tweet

I recently thought of my husband of almost 32 years, Tony. I am quick to speak up if he does something that annoys me – to him and anyone else within a 20-mile radius. But I have never appreciated him more than I have in the last year with the illness and passing of my parents. His care of them and all the rest of us was selfless and tireless. Really, he has always been that way, but in times of trouble, you really see what someone is made of. And the harder things got, the more Tony came through.

Had I ever stopped to actually tell him how much I appreciated all he did? I’m sure I said thank you a time or two, but in the spirit of making sure I never left how I felt unsaid, I wrote him a letter telling him all of the things I appreciated about him. The list was a good reminder to me of his many wonderful qualities, because as I wrote it, the list got longer and longer. And I know that when Tony read my list, he felt valued and affirmed. And why wouldn’t I want the person I love most in the world to feel that I value and appreciate him? Note to self – make a point of SAYING how you feel.

I also wrote a letter to someone I had a professional “parting of the ways” with last year. Our parting was on a sour note. But the fact of the matter is, we worked together for a long time and for most of that time had a good working relationship. So before I closed out 2015, I wrote this person a letter acknowledging that while we had experienced a falling out at the end , there were many things that I appreciated about working with him and many things I learned from him.

I felt a tremendous weight lift off of my shoulders the minute I put that letter in the mail. I needed to go into the New Year with a clean slate, unburdened by the bad feelings I had when we parted ways. And the way to do that was to REMEMBER and EXPRESS the good. When he received the letter, he sent me an e-mail saying how much it meant to him.

REMEMBER and EXPRESS the good. #SayIt Click To Tweet

So today, I’m going to take a page from Madigan’s book about Mr. Rogers and let the people in my life know that I love them and what specifically I appreciate about them. On this side of 50, I am more acutely aware that life is short. And I don’t want to leave this world with things that are unsaid.

How do you REMEMBER and EXPRESS the good to those you care about?

 

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46 Comments on "How to be sure you say the important things"

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Ginger Harris
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Ginger Harris
4 months 10 days ago

Great way to start the day… thanks for the positive words.

Edith
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Edith
4 months 10 days ago

Lovely read. Thank you so much for sharing these personal moments with us. I feel like I was there first hand with you. ❤️

I feel the need to be more grateful and aware of my blessings

Mhar Sefcik
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4 months 10 days ago

This is a very nice book indeed. It inspires and make you share goodness to others. Yes you are right, life is short. So many people passing every month, every week, and everyday. So sad to hear bad news, but I hope that those people who had left this world, had said to their loved ones how proud they were.

I am trying to get this habit of expressing appreciation, love, and goodness in words and deed. Because, I am not getting any younger. I don’t want to regret any thing.

Gunjan
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4 months 10 days ago

Wonderful and informative article.

Gail
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4 months 9 days ago

One of my favorite books and people ever!

Susan
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Susan
4 months 8 days ago

Another great post Cathy. Thank you for sharing! So good!

Laura's Lovely Blog
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4 months 7 days ago

I love this and the positive impact of words it really makes me think about how I speak to both my children and husband. I do say I’m proud but maybe not enough

jennifer
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4 months 6 days ago

Always good to say the important words that are sometimes left unsaid. Thanks for sharing on #overthemoon

Gayle McMaster
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Gayle McMaster
4 months 6 days ago

Beautiful reminder – thank you so much! You truly have a God-given gift of the written word and writing from and with your heart!

Ira
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4 months 6 days ago

Often we overlook the brighter things while we are engrossed in petty issues. This is such a beautiful write-up. A reminder always brings forth the thoughts that get stuck with time. Glad I stumbled over to this place!

Shalini
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4 months 6 days ago

Wow. That’s inspiring. I loved each and every word you wrote there. esp. To make a point of saying how one feels. High time I did that. Thanks for the write.

Vishal Bheeroo
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4 months 4 days ago

A powerful post filled with kindness. It’s important to appreciate someone and tell it. It makes a huge difference.

Kathleen
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4 months 4 days ago

Cathy, I did enjoy reading this post and the message of appreciation of others. The post will be FEATURED on Friday from the Pit Stop Crew at the Bloggers Pit Stop. We hope to see you there.

1010ParkPlace
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4 months 3 days ago

You’ve given us a great reminder of how important it is to make other people feel valued and appreciated. Thank you, Brenda

Sally
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4 months 3 days ago

Awesome post, Cathy! I will definitely have to read the book!

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4 months 3 days ago

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Rebecca
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3 months 29 days ago

Thank you for sharing this book, your thoughts about it, and the actions it encourage. It looks like a wonderful book, one I am going to try to read.

Amy
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3 months 29 days ago

What a wonderful reminder of how we tend to fail to acknowledge the good in life while focusing on the negative! Kudos to you for writing that letter and lifting such a burden off of yourself and your co-worker. It takes a lot of courage to reach out, but it was apparently what you both needed. Great post!! Thanks for contributing to the Monday Mish Mash!!

Erin @ LivingEZ
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3 months 26 days ago

Such an important reminder. Thanks!

nikki
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3 months 23 days ago

This is so important and I agree whole-heartedly. We never know what the next moment or instant will bring, life has a way of twisting and turning. Telling someone what they mean to you not only gives you the warm fuzzies, but it can change someone else’s whole outlook, and that affects everyone they come into contact with that day. Amazing.

Kellie
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3 months 12 days ago

Thank you for letting me know the book is there. I love Fred Rogers.

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Carol
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13 hours 20 minutes ago

Great post on the power of words, Cathy! We all need to practice and use great words with people in our lives.

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