When I was in 5th and 6th grade, my parents went through a divorce. Each time I think about that time in my life, it is almost as if I am reliving the experience for a moment – the uncertainty, the fear, the loneliness, the wondering if I’m ever going to feel “normal” again. It’s amazing how our minds work, what they have the power to bring to life inside.

I went through some pretty tough years in middle school and high school. I always worked hard, did very well in school, and never took a “wrong” path – for which I am unbelievably grateful for. Honestly, I don’t even know if anyone from the outside would have really known how alone I felt, but inside, I never felt quite sure if I fit in, if I was really loved for who I was. Divorce can do something incredibly harsh to a child’s esteem and over all well-being, even if they appear to be “fine” on the outside. Then two people each said three words to me that forever changed my life… “You Are Special.”

My step dad and my tenth grade English teacher both told me that at different times during my sophomore year of high school. I remember exactly where I was in both instances. Where I was sitting. How I felt at that moment each of them said it. Their sincerity and the truth I saw in their eyes and heard in their voices made me just know it was true, that I would do something special and “important” with my life, that I mattered. And now, every single time I hear those words – whether someone is saying them to me or I am saying them to someone else – those special feelings wash over me like a warm blanket, making me feel safe, happy, content, and… special. J And that is what fuels the fire in me to share that simple, beautiful message with as many children as I possibly can every day. Each precious child, each precious soul needs and deserves to know that.

Over the 20 years I have worked with kids, once in a “blue moon” someone will ask if my working with children via school assemblies and classrooms programs can really impact kids’ lives in life-changing ways. I have seen so many kids live their “greatness” and have heard from so many children over the years that the Right Road programs and messages have indeed changed their lives, but the way I really and truly know without a doubt that it can and does, is that it happened to me. Of course, the words can be adjusted… You Are Magnificent! You Are Awesome! You are Talented!… all variations work well, too. J But there is something incredibly unique and powerful about the simple 3-word sentence “You Are Special” said looking into another person’s eyes from the core of your being. It can truly fill up someone’s heart, soul, and life in an unparalleled way and give that person the amazing life-long gift of self-esteem.

I pray that each of you reading this will truly always remember without a shadow of a doubt that YOU ARE SPECIAL! If you do not have someone else in your life to say it to you, write in on a post-it note, stick it to your mirror, and say it out loud to yourself every day! And know that you can change a child’s life, a co-worker’s life, a loved one’s life, a friend’s life with those three simple words, said from the heart. YOU ARE SPECIAL! Pass it on! 🙂

Blessings, love, and light today and always,