Someone Cares: From The Heart

This professor encourages her students to share their impactful words with those they have written about.

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Posted in , Jan 27, 2022

An illustration of a Thank You note with a heart-shaped ribbon; Illustration by Coco Masuda

I’m a communications professor at a community college. I give the students in my public speaking course the same assignment each semester. “Commemorate a person who means something to you, someone who’s inspired you,” I tell them. “Speak from the heart.” The students’ speeches move me. They talk about their parents’ unconditional love, a friend who has always shown up for them or a loved one’s battle with a health problem. After they give their speech in class, I encourage them to share it with the person they’ve written about. They return to class amazed at the impact their words made on the other person.

Last year, a friend of mine received a scary diagnosis. I wanted to encourage her but didn’t know what to say. Then I remembered the advice I give my students: Speak from the heart. I wrote an email, telling my friend how much I’ve always admired her strength and courage.

Like my students, I’ve learned that words are powerful. Now every time I assign that speech, I write a note to thank someone for the positive impact they’ve had on my life.

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