I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
A note to readers: After 3½ years of meeting
weekly deadlines, I have decided to take a break from column
writing. So my column next week will be the final one. I have
appreciated the chance to interact with so many readers, and
I hope to return to writing after taking some time off.
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Quick note on showing appreciation
By Barry Schrader.................................May
Peoria Journal Star, and that got him some positive feedback.
A friend then suggested he expand the newspaper piece into a
book, and he did. The little hardbound book is called The
Note, and it can also be found on his website, www.noteproject.com.
A former DeKalb resident has started a movement to make the
world a million times better by inspiring people such as
you and me to write a note of appreciation to someone you know.
Mike OMary lived in DeKalb from 1988-2000,
much of that time working for DeKalb Genetics. He told me his
boss was Robert Pritchard, then in public relations at the Ag
but now a state representative. OMary also did commentaries
on WNIJ for a few years.
How did this idea come
about? OMary had been separated from some of his siblings
during childhood, and many years later he received a thank you
note from his younger sister for something long forgotten by
The note was a wake-up call for me.
I had not been a very appreciative person up to then. So I decided
to send some long overdue thank yous to others in my life,
Next he had an article about his
note writing published in the
In the book he talks about why appreciation is important
in our lives and why people dont take the time to do it.
So he provides a step-by-step process to get started. In addition
to that, he has prepared a lesson plan that teachers can use
in the classroom.
Asked if new technology such
as email is acceptable, he said that is OK, but the old-fashioned,
handwritten note is his preference. Since kicking off the project
he has presented more than 50 seminars throughout the state on
the subject. These sessions are conducted at no charge, and he
encourages people to contact him via the website for more information.
I am a firm believer in notes of appreciation or
even a letter that says we have been out of touch for a while,
so lets reconnect. However, I must confess that email is
so much easier, though less impressive. I can count on one hand
the number of people who have used pen and paper to write me
in the last year; computer-composed letters are the most popular
method. There was a time when people jotted a few sentences on
the back of their Christmas cards, but now we get photocopied
annual reports instead. This is not a criticism of those, as
we send them out ourselves. But what is really special is when
someone reads that Christmas letter and writes back to comment
on something in it.
So I hope OMarys
attempt to make the world a million times better
spawns a whole new generation of letter writers.
Another subject: Many DeKalb schools alumni remember
Will Widerberg, the former DeKalb teacher who was named National
Teacher of the Year in 1954. Now a Florida resident, Widerberg
gets invited to the annual awards ceremony at the White House
and has attended eight times in the past. This month his daughter,
Dawn, and her husband, Brad Sauer, of Sugar Grove, accompanied
him, and they got to meet President Barack Obama at the ceremony.
Dawn said at age 92, her father was the oldest honoree present
and got an ovation when introduced.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115