Slipping a note in a child’s lunch box is nothing new, but one dad has taken the practice to a new level of awesomeness.
In 2017, Chris Yandle had just moved back to Mandeville, Louisiana, after losing his job in college athletics. His family had moved multiple times throughout his career, and his kids were anxious about attending yet another school.
His daughter Addison was due to start fourth grade at her fourth school in five years, and she was a bundle of nerves. Chris noticed and felt guilty about uprooting the kids so many times. That’s when he decided to write her a short note of encouragement to let her know that he is always there for her.
“Be nice to others,” he wrote. “Not everyone will look like you. Learn to spot the unique and special things in other people. You have the power to change someone’s life.”
The next day, the dad penned another note — and then another. Eventually, it became a daily part of their routine, and he realized the short messages were helping him as much as they helped his daughter.
The notes worked! With her dad’s daily encouragement, Addison settled into her new school and began to thrive. Four years later, she’s excelling in middle school, and her mom, Ashleigh Yandle, said she’s never seen Addison more confident and independent.
Chris uses his own life experiences to craft the notes. He hopes to guide his daughter in her decision-making process and help her benefit from his own mistakes and achievements.
“It makes me feel like I’m doing my part as a dad,” Chris said. “Seeing how she’s growing up and how well she’s done at school, her mindset, her attitude — if I was able help her find that confidence and mold that change then I’ve done my job as a parent.”
As Addison gets older, Chris is trying to take a more humorous approach to the notes. He also admits to “recycling” a few of the concepts over the years. It’s not easy being original when you’ve penned 698 notes and counting!
Chris shares his motivational notes on Instagram, where they’ve become popular with other parents hoping to mimic his style. He recently compiled hundreds of his wise thoughts in a book, crowdsourcing money to publish “Lucky Enough: A Year of a Dad’s Daily Notes of Encouragement and Life Lessons to His Daughter.”
“Each page not only is the message I wrote her, but there’s an anecdote or story behind each one,” he said.
The biggest takeaway Chris can share with other parents is this: Spend time with your kids! It doesn’t matter what you do, just knowing you’re available will help them open up and explore the world around them.
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