It’s Never Too Late

Shaler Black Cooper, our Fire Keepers Circle Coordinator, proves it's never too late to say, "Thank you."

Shaler Black Cooper, our Fire Keepers Circle Coordinator, proves it's never too late to say, "Thank you."

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much impact my time with Sally had on my life.

In 1996 I was a high school freshman who had just left the comfort of an 8th grade class of 28 and entered into the massive hallways of the public high school where I was one of close to 1,000 other freshman. And if that change wasn’t enough – my family was in crisis. My brother had just left for a therapeutic boarding school in Idaho and we were trying to establish our new “norm” with a missing family piece.

That’s where Sally comes into the picture. Sally was a delightful, kind and gentle counselor. My parents strongly encouraged (aka made me) meet with her on a regular basis during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about going to see a counselor. This painfully shy girl thought it was easier to fly under the radar, as I had been doing for so many years, than it would be to talk to a stranger about my feelings. But nope! The family needed a tune up, both as a family unit as well as each individual member, and that’s what we got!

Sally listened, talked and coached me through my anger, guilt, sadness, confusion, tears, triumphs, joys and successes.

Fast forward to August of 2010; during the August Cherokee Creek Family Seminar I helped to facilitate a “Siblings of Cherokee Creek Students” group discussion. During this discussion, many parents and siblings asked what was most helpful for me during the time my brother was away at school. Time after time I thought of sitting in Sally’s office in one of the white wicker chairs. This was a time of enlightening “ah-ha moments” and of blossoming self-confidence. I remember being allowed to be angry and cry and not feel like those emotions would place any blame or judgment on another family member. It was my safe place where I could say anything.

I had no idea if she would even remember me after 15 years, but I decided it was time to look her up, thank her and tell her about the positive impact she had om my life. So that’s exactly what I did. And she definitely remembered me. Afterwards, I received a lovely message from Sally thanking me for reaching out to her…and that it was a gift to hear that our time together had changed mt life.

I was grateful to find her and I learned it is never too late to say, “Thank you. You made a difference.” As Thanksgiving approaches, it is a wonderful time to refelct on the gratitude we feel for the many people who have touched our life.

Who has made a difference in your life? Have you told them? Are you living in a way that will make a difference to someone else?

 

Cherokee Creek Boys School is a therapeutic boarding school for middle-school boys, ages 11-15, in Upstate South Carolina.

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posted by Shaler Black Cooper in Discovering What is Real and True and have Comments (6)

6 Responses to “It’s Never Too Late”

  1. Jean Raffa says:

    I loved today’s post, Shaler. It’s a very important message. Your parents had amazing foresight to insist that you see Sally. I have no doubt her non-judgmental listening was crucial in bringing out the maturity and beauty that is so evident in you today.

    Love, Jeanie

  2. Beth Black says:

    Recently we have been hearing from some of our early alumni at Cherokee Creek. It is so gratifying to hear that they are doing well in college or in the military… and that they have good memories of their time at CCBS. “Thank you”…such easy words that mean so much!

  3. Sarah Walsh says:

    I also love this post. I find that there are some phrases that are never too late or too insignificant to be said, even years later. “Thank you”, “I’m sorry” and “I love you” continue to be staples in my life. I feel that the message in today’s post is so important, especially when we feel that we may be long forgotten.

    Shaler, you are great at thanking others and recognizing the beauty within everyone you meet. The power of those two words have reverberations that even we can’t fully feel. You are a wonderful inspiration! I love you!

    Sarah

  4. Shirley Thompson says:

    Beautiful message, Shaler. Thank YOU.
    Shirley

  5. colleen King Ney says:

    beautiful! and Thank you for passing on your wisdom at the alumni weekend. i will always remember your presence and your message and was so grateful that my son, the one “left behind ” was there to hear it.

  6. Shaler Black says:

    ‘Thank you’ for all of the lovely responses!

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