Teaching children the power of positivity at a young age helps them develop self-esteem and resiliency. Kids benefit by having a solid mental foundation to help them navigate problems at school or with friends. For instance, many children today encounter bullying, difficulties making friends, and struggles with assignments. However, a positive mindset displayed by mom or dad can make all these issues easier to solve.
Chris Yandle, a father of two from Louisiana, saw firsthand the benefits of teaching his children positivity. He began writing uplifting notes to his daughter Addison in 2017. She started middle school that year, an often turbulent time for many teens.
At the beginning of fourth grade in 2021, Yandle’s son Jackson asked his dad if he would also write him notes. Of course, he agreed wholeheartedly. He also found it touching that his son wanted to read his messages.
Addison started her first year of high school this year, and Jackson began fifth grade. Yandle still keeps up the long-standing tradition of including positivity notes in his children’s school lunches. Although the kids have grown up a bit, they never seem tired of reading their dad’s inspiring messages!
How the Positivity Lunch Note Tradition Began
Yandle realized his children needed positivity in their lives more than ever after a difficult move. When he lost his job in 2016 after a successful career in college athletics, the family moved back home to Louisiana. That made their fourth state in only five years, and Yandle started to feel guilty about moving his family around. In hindsight, it didn’t seem worth it since his employer didn’t value him as much as he’d thought.
Addison’s emotional health began to suffer throughout moving and enrolling in new schools. She had attended four schools in three different states in five years.
“At the start of fourth grade, she was starting to exhibit signs of anxiety and I knew I had to do something. So, without thinking, I scribbled a message on a Ziploc bag and placed her sandwich in it for lunch,” the positive parent said.
“I honestly thought it was only going to last a few weeks and I’d forget about. But, she was reading them, her teacher was noticing them, so I knew I needed to continue. Later on in the year, I realized I was writing the messages for me as much as I was writing them for her,” he continued.
Originally, Yandle intended to write the positivity notes for only a few weeks. But, one day quickly turned into a week and then a month. Before long, it had become a tradition that his children intensely looked forward to each day at lunchtime.
The notes especially seemed to benefit Addison, as her dad started noticing her mental health improving. Yandle believes that a more stable home life also contributed to her positive behaviors.
“I know she enjoyed reading them or at the very least knowing that her dad was “back” mentally and emotionally. Over the years, she and I have grown extremely close and I think that’s in large part to what I started five years ago. In junior high, I could tell some of the things I had written her or told her over the years were starting to sink in with how she carried herself and advocated for herself,” the loving dad said.
The Dad Lunch Note Idea Caught on Worldwide
Yandle never thought so many people would be interested in the positive lunch note idea. However, it soon caught people’s attention worldwide when they came across his social media pages.
“I know some teachers in our old school district were doing messages for their students and I had heard of some parents writing notes to their kids. I think what this story has shown has gone far behind our communities here in Louisiana. I’ve heard from people in Canada, South America, all across Europe, India, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. The power of the written word is an international language so many people understand,” he said.
He even wrote a book showcasing his notes to Addison when she attended middle school. He thought it would help parents understand the importance of teaching positive thinking to their children.
“So, my book, “Lucky Enough,” is the first year of notes I wrote Addison during that fourth grade school year. It was a year filled with anxiety, some run-ins with bullying, and just mean girl drama. After recommendations from her principal and her fourth-grade teacher, I decided to put those notes into a book in hopes our story could help other parents. Each page is the note I wrote plus an anecdote behind what I wrote that particular day,” he said.
Yandle said he found inspiration for the book title from the Taylor Swift quote, “If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.” He remembered writing a similar message to Addison and believed it helped her develop a healthy self-image.
He’s received ample positive feedback about the book from parents, teachers, and school counselors. Some have begun sharing the notes with their children and students or creating bulletin boards with encouraging messages.
In the future, the loving father hopes to write another book about parenting stories with some of his notes included. We can’t wait to read it!
Final Thoughts on Dad Teaching Positivity With Lunch Notes
Chris Yandle started writing positive lunch notes to his children when they began fourth grade. He intended to write the letters for a few weeks, but something told him to keep going. So far, he’s written 1,102 notes to his children — 900 to Addison and 202 to Jackson.
Yandle still writes them currently and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. The positivity notes have had a profound impact on his children and so many others around the world. He’s seen how his words have beautifully shaped Addison over the years. It’s a perfect example of words having the power to heal rather than hurt people.
“I know Addison reads (most of) what I write her. Sometimes, she’ll use my words against me As a dad, I think she’s used what I’ve written her to become a confident young woman. I am proud of who’s she’s becoming, and I am excited (and sad) about what high school will hold for her,” he said.
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