The Long Game

In third grade, Mrs. Cobb asked us to write a story.

When she gave mine back to me, she said, “Andra, when I’m an old, old lady, I’ll go to the Bixby library and I’ll see a book by Andra Coleman.”

I already loved reading, but this was suddenly a new love. To have the vision and encouragement of my favorite teacher? To write a book? To have it published and be in the library?

I should have swelled with joy and excitement. And I did, really. I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve returned to that memory of specific encouragement countless times when the words wouldn’t come out on my paper. I’ve considered it as a life-altering act of truth-speaking love.

But still. I was a literal ten-year-old. My main thought was this:

“No, she won’t. My book won’t say Andra Coleman. I’ll be married by then.”

(I know. Again, let me remind you, I was ten.)

So Mrs. Cobb, if you’re out there, I’m going to print one copy with my maiden name and personally deliver it to the Bixby public library. Because I want you to find me and know. Your words to a quirky, awkward third grader made a difference — they gave hope, they created a dream, and they helped make something beautiful happen.

Sometimes encouragement requires playing the long game.

Guest post by Andra (Coleman) Loy

Please click on the above words, The Long Game, to leave a comment below.

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Valerie McClendon
Valerie McClendon
4 years ago

Wow, what an affirmation in your life! Words can be so powerful, especially those directed to a young person.

4 years ago

What a great reminder of how our words matter and can speak life or death into someone. What a life giving comment she gave you! Thanks for this, sweet friend.

4 years ago
Reply to  Shaen Mehl

Pragmatic…or boy crazy? Yeah, let’s go with pragmatic.

4 years ago

Next time I’m in the Bixby library…

Barbara Coleman
Barbara Coleman
4 years ago

I love this! It’s encouragement for the encourager… Our words really do make a difference in others’ lives.

Shaen Mehl
4 years ago

Your ten-year-old self was quite the pragmatist, Audra! Loved hearing this story of encouragement ?

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