Pay It Forward

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By Mary Manners

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” ~ Colossians 3:12 ~

I have been writing since I was old enough to know that words tell a story…about four years old. I have such vivid memories of standing in my basement in Chicago, leaning against the washing machine, and scribbling across a notepad because I had a story to tell. Of course, the scribble was just gibberish, but the story was clear in my mind.

My primary school librarian read enchanting stories from picture books. One of my favorites was Sam, Bangs and Moonshine. I loved the wonderful tale of the inquisitive girl and her cat, and the father whose love was overshadowed by grief over the loss of his wife…so many powerful emotions interwoven with haunting illustrations. As you can guess, library hour was my favorite time of the week.

In sixth grade, I had a wonderful and engaging teacher who nurtured my writing. She came to school early in the morning and worked with me, and I completed my first full-length novel that year. I will never forget this wonderful woman. We corresponded through my college years before losing touch. I will never forget her, though, or the boundless encouragement she gave me.

In high school, I had an English teacher who loved books as much as I did. He understood my passion for words, and encouraged me to read books with more depth and to appreciate their beautiful imagery. He also began a writers’ group, and published some poems I wrote in a school anthology. It was thrilling!

Without these dedicated teachers, I may not have pursued my love of writing…and might very well not be where I am today. I remember them as I meet aspiring writers who reach out for guidance and words of wisdom, and try to ‘pay forward’ the encouragement I received.

So I ask…has there ever been a teacher who impacted you with compassion, dedication, or encouragement? If so, how did this teacher help you to get where you are today…and what would you say to him or her if given the opportunity?

Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime exploring her joy of writing. She has two sons and a daughter, as well as three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim. Connect with Mary at her website: “Like” her author page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Comments 0

  1. First, I love your stories. Keep writing! 🙂 Yes, I was blessed with elementary school teachers that helped me love writing and reading. My parents first gave me the love for writing and reading and then, those special teachers created an environment in the classroom that made me want to continue my pursuit of writing and reading.

  2. Love this post! I had a 9th-grade teacher who encouraged my writing. I wish I hadn’t lost track of her. I did look up my fifth-grade teacher when I was about 30 and called her and thanked her for the difference she made in my life. She’d lost her son in WWII and occasionally talked about him. She made a huge impact in my life. Now that I’m older, I image I made her day.

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