Dear 100 Hour Board,
Tell me about someone (friend, acquaintance, or stranger) who impacted your life positively, but who doesn't know about the affect they had on you. What's the story? Will they ever know about their impact on your life?
Here's one of my stories: During my last two years of high school, I underwent a pretty big shift in my worldview that helped me focus more on being open-minded and accepting. There was one other Mormon girl on my dance team at the time, and I think that she was the primary catalyst for that shift. She was super chill, and she maintained her standards without placing unfair expectations on her friends and their behavior (which blew my mind at the time; I hadn't ever seen such radical acceptance from my peers at church). She she set an example that showed me what it looks like to be both highly religious AND accepting, empathetic, and supportive. While she's far from the only person who helped push me in this direction, she was especially influential. Without her help, it would probably have taken me a lot longer to get where I am today, and I would have lost out on some amazing friendships, experiences, and lessons.
A few months ago, over Christmas break, we got together to catch up over lunch. While we were talking, she casually complemented me on being loving and accepting of one of our mutual friends. I thanked her and responded by telling her about how she helped me become that way. She was surprised; she didn't mean to set an example, she was just doing her own thing. I think she was touched to hear that she had made such a positive difference. If you still have the contact information for whoever you tell me about, I'd encourage you to reach out and let them know how they affected you.
Excited to hear your stories!
When I was in high school I participated in 4-H and there was the most lovely, curly ginger volunteer mom there. She had several daughters in the program and was SUPER involved. She would drive people to all of the events, stay, help make food, run the show, and support all of the kids. As far as I know she was only a volunteer and was never paid for any of it. She knew everything about all of the 4-Hers and loved to hear funny stories about our teen drama and love lives. She was super easy to talk to, get advice from, and talk about light and heavy topics. She was ALWAYS there for you. She didn't really gossip, because as much as we talked about other people, she always reserved judgement and was kind and forgiving and found a way to laugh about things.
When I got asked to Junior Prom the day before it happened, I drove to her house and she let me borrow a dress. When I had some really hard life stuff come up, she was compassionate and always willing to talk through it. When one of the other 4-Hers I was dating totally dumped/ghosted me, she helped me laugh through it. Her daughter was one of my best 4-H friends. When we won the Western National Roundup FCS bowl, she was cheering for us. She helped my team prepare and always believed in me.
Her husband died spontaneously about a year before I was in the program, and I know it must have been so hard for her and her family but she kept serving and loving all the kids in 4-H and I seriously love her so so much. She still makes an effort to support all of us and check up on how we're doing. I haven't been in 4-H for 3 years now and she's always making sure I'm doing okay.
My BYU yoga instructors.
The first instructor was for a spring term class, and it was the very first time I had ever done yoga. I was going through a really rough patch mental-health wise at the time, and that class seriously boosted me so much.
The second instructor was for the yoga class I took my last semester before graduating. The entirety of the class was so amazing, but there's one instance in particular that stands out. I was going into triangle pose, and the instructor just gently helped me to adjust to come into better alignment along my shoulders. I'm still not quite sure why, but when she nudged my shoulder, I felt this outpouring of pure Christ-like love. In that moment, it was like I was getting a glimpse into Heaven, and the absolute and pure love God has for us when we're being corrected, and how the process of being corrected is supposed to be so joyful. Just seeing this instructor's passion for yoga and for helping other people through yoga touched me so deeply. I actually did write her an email at the end of the semester about what a big impact she'd had on me.
One of my high school history teachers is one of the main reasons I became a teacher. I liked history before I took her class--there's a reason I ended up in her AP European History class--but I didn't completely love it the way I do now. And then I had her as my teacher, and she made history come alive in a way I had never realized it could before. She made me see how relevant the events of the past still are, and how the lessons it teaches us have huge repercussions for our lives today, and her class was just fun, even though it was hard. I took an IB history class the next year even though I wasn't in the IB program, just so I could take more history classes from her. One of the assignments in her class was when we learned about King Louis XIV and the Palace of Versailles, we had to pretend we were a courtier there and write a postcard from Versailles. So two years ago when I finally got to go to France and see the Palace of Versailles in person (something I'd been hoping to do ever since 11th grade), I wrote her a real postcard from Versailles and explained how her class influenced me to become a history teacher. She messaged me on Facebook afterwards to say thank you, and it was great letting her know about the impact she had on my life. I don't know if she realizes the full extent of how much she helped me in high school, though. Her classroom was a safe space for my best friend and me our senior year--we would go hang out in there during our free period, which happened to be during her prep period. In retrospect that was probably super annoying for her because she had work to do, but she would let us show up and giggle over troubled love cards (which, by the way, is a real genre of Hallmark cards that you can buy at Smith's for some reason), or get her board games out of the cupboard and let us play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, or just listen to us talk about our high school drama and give us advice. She's a great example of the influence a good teacher can have, and someone I hope to emulate in my own career.
As for a random stranger, there's the person at BYU who gave me a packet of fruit snacks once when I was having a super stressful day. I don't remember exactly what was happening, but I was incredibly stressed out about school stuff, and feeling directionless in my personal life, and I think I had just been rejected by a guy I was interested in. Then that morning I was looking forward to eating a clementine, only to find that all of mine had gone moldy. (It probably says something about my priorities that I distinctly remember the moldy clementines, but only vaguely remember what was going on in my dating life, haha.) I walked to campus, when I got a call from my brother that our car (which we shared at the time) had gotten a parking ticket from where I parked it the night before. Hearing about the parking ticket was the final straw, and I burst into tears in the middle of campus, and went and sat on the benches outside the Maeser and just cried. I finally got it together enough to walk home, and on my way some random person on campus was giving out packages of fruit snacks to everyone who passed by. He gave me one and told me to have a nice day, and that was enough to tip me over the edge again and make me cry the rest of my walk home (but this time in a more positive way). I have no idea who that guy was or why he was giving away fruit snacks, but it made me feel like I could get through the day. This is such a silly story, but I still remember those fruit snacks as being one of the nicest things a random stranger did for me.
Thanks for this awesome feel-good question!
During my last semester as an Urban Planning major at BYU, I heard about a class called "Urban Sociology" and quickly rearranged my schedule to make it fit. As it turns out, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The class was taught by Dr. Jacob Rugh, who did more in those few months than any other person at any other time in my life to open my eyes to the dramatic inequality that is built into our cities and our world, and to help me understand why it exists and how it can be addressed. It's no exaggeration to say I owe him my career - although I was convinced I wanted to go into urban design at the time, I later gravitated towards housing issues and am now working for a local government to manage funding for nonprofits.
I haven't spoken to Dr. Rugh since my last day of class in 2015. I have no clue if he'd even remember me. But I'm taking this as a sign that I should reach out and thank him for helping me become who I am today.
This is a little less deep, but my cross-country coach instilled in a me a love for running that is probably going to literally lengthen my lifespan. Prior to taking her P.E. class in high school, I didn't really ever exercise. At the end of that school year, she asked me and some other students (not sure how she chose) how we felt about running and would we be interested in joining the cross-country team? I didn't even really know what cross-country was but I think they needed the support because our school was new so I thought, why not? I was honestly not very good at distance running, as it turns out, but I met my husband on that team (hi El-ahrairah) and, again, I learned that even though I wasn't great at it, I actually quite enjoy running and now I have a tool I can use to really help bolster my mental and physical health. I love this question, when I have more time I'd like to think of more people who have impacted me and try to reach out. I feel like a pandemic is a great time to share love through words of affirmation when we can't do as much physical touch. Thanks for the encouragement!