Thank you so much for your multi-year participation in the You Matter Marathon. Without you, this message would not have spread as deep and as wide as it has.
Thought you might value this candid and heartfelt story from a friend and multi-year YuMMie, Janet Falon. Janet shares her honest challenge and inspiring suggestions for keeping the YMM card sharing fresh each year. Maybe you can relate.
I have participated in the You Matter Marathon since the beginning. Each time has been gratifying and meaningful, and many of my interactions with people I gave the card to have been memorable and warmed my heart. More than one person has responded, “you’ve made my day.” Several people teared up. Many hug. And then there was the time when I handed one woman a You Matter card, and she responded, “I don’t need this; I’m a child of God,” and I thought isn’t she lucky to already feel valued. Whatever works, right?
I’ve handed out You Matter cards to strangers I purposefully approach, which sometimes makes me a bit nervous but usually works out, to my students (I’m a writer and writing teacher), to the support people in my life such as my dry cleaner and the woman who cleans my house, and to friends and family members. And I’d guess that about six times during this past Marathon, people have liked the idea so much that they asked me if they could have cards to give out to the people in their lives; not surprisingly, I keep an extra bag of You Matter cards with me at all times in anticipation of situations like this.
After having given out the cards for three years, I have a challenge: By this time, I’ve given cards to most of the people in my life who I come in contact with regularly. Last year, several of my usual recipients told me that I didn’t have to give them a card because they already had them and didn’t need to receive the message again. So what do I do now? Who do I give cards to? Where do I find people who I haven’t reached in the past? Is there some other way I can support the Marathon? And am I willing to spend time thinking about this challenge and going out of my way, perhaps, to find new recipients and keep things fresh?
Or have I reached the finish line of my own You Matter Marathon?
I don’t have the answers to these questions yet, but I imagine that I’ll participate and give out You Matter cards again. I have seen that the vast majority of people appreciate being told that they matter — especially in today’s world — and I know that the zing of positive energy that’s created when I hand someone a You Matter card warms me and makes me feel, ironically, that it’s ME who matters, too.
I think I’m just going to have to brainstorm, and maybe think about the individuals and groups I regularly come into contact with but don’t usually think about as having a close personal relationship. How about my neighbors, who I don’t see much especially in the winter, or the people who attend the meetings of a group I co-chair? How about the guy at the gas station, who I used to imagine didn’t like me, or the family up the block who has admired my garden? How about the folks in the waiting room when I have a doctor’s appointment, or the server at my morning-coffee place who always bumps up the size of my take-out? Maybe I will hand the cards to random shoppers at my supermarket? I could even enclose them in the mail, I guess, when I send off my electric or water bills.
Ultimately, I think, the Marathon is about humanizing the people – both known and unfamiliar – who weave through our lives. It is about recognizing the spark of personhood in each of us, about seeing each other as individuals. Individuals who matter.
Let’s share our ideas about how to reach new audiences. Please send them to Cheryl Rice, and she can include them in a mailing.
Cheryl Rice, Founder