DEAR ABBY: Back in 1993, I was in ninth grade attending high school in northern Delaware. I was a shy kid and somewhat depressed. I never had much to say, nor felt my opinions mattered.
One day in math class, the teacher called on me to answer a math problem. Out of the blue, a boy who sat several rows away said out loud, "You should talk more. You have a nice voice." I was in shock -- in a good way! Someone had given me a compliment!
It was, and still is, one of the nicest compliments I've ever received. It made me feel valued. I still smile whenever I think of it.
If that young man happens to read this, I thank him from the bottom of my heart. -- STEPHANIE IN DELAWARE
DEAR STEPHANIE: I'm pleased to pass along your message. A simple compliment can change a life. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My 99-year-old aunt gave me this poem. It was written by my grandmother, Cecile Harris, who was born in 1868. I call it "Grandma's Words of Wisdom."
For some kind word I do not say
A heart goes lonely on its way.
Those words of praise I do not speak
May make another's courage weak.
My friendly thought I do not share
May leave another in despair.
The words that burn, the hurt that sears
May live to haunt me through the years.
What loads I lift, what joy I spread
May live long after I am dead.
My grandma was a wonderful lady. I can recall no unkind comment she ever made. -- BONNIE THOMA, YUBA CITY, CALIF.
DEAR BONNIE: Your grandmother not only had a way with words, she was a wise woman.