I’ve been exchanging Christmas cards with my high school chemistry teacher for more than two decades, and it’s made me realize just how important staying connected to the people who have had a positive impact on our life truly is. The mentors we choose can be the difference between living a mediocre life or an extraordinary one. And for that reason, I have an incredible amount of gratitude for Mrs. Lechman.
I’ll never forget that first day, when my classmates and I shuffled into the classroom in search of a seat that would become ours for the remainder of our freshmen year. The strong, acidic odor of the lab was intense, making some of the students cover their noses as they walked in. On the left side of the room, there was a large periodic table secured to the wall, and lab stations were scattered throughout the room. At the front, a large piece of white paper was taped to the blackboard, where Mrs. Lechman stood waiting patiently for us to settle in. After introducing herself, along with what we’d be learning in the weeks to come, she grabbed a bottle filled with a mysterious liquid and began spraying the white paper with it. After a few minutes, the words “Chemistry is fun” appeared in bright colors. And that was the moment I knew it was going to be an interesting year — and that she would be my mentor.
Mentors see our potential and push us to find new ways to solve problems. They encourage us to keep moving forward, particularly when we want to give up. And they don’t accept less from us because they know what we’re capable of.
Over the years, I’ve shared my life journey with Mrs. Lechman — where my career has taken me, the adventures Iv’e been on, and the many blessings I’ve experienced. And, in turn, she’s shared her journey with me. The first card I sent was meant to simply be an expression of my gratitude for Mrs. Lechman, for the role I belive she’s played in my successes. But the exchange was so heart-warming — for both of us it seems — that it became an annual tradition.
While she’s since retired from Largo High School, her unique approach to teaching made chemistry extremely fun for me. And that’s why I have so much gratitude for Mrs. Lechman.
Who are your mentors? Who has influenced you?
The Relational Dimension of Self-Care involves all the positive, meaningful connections that we make throughout our lives.