This dad from Louisiana knows the immense power that words hold, so he uses them to help his daughter, Addison, get through school and life.
In August 2017, Addison had just started fourth grade at her fourth school in five years. However, her parents noticed something was off—Addy was “more reserved than normal” and was “anxious” about going to school.
Later, Chris Yandle and his wife learned that a supposed friend of hers was bullying their daughter.
Chris, 39, came to Addy’s rescue by writing her an encouraging lunch note that read, “Be nice to others. Not everyone will look like you. Learn to spot the unique and special things in other people. You have the power to change someone’s life!”
The father of two hoped his little note would brighten Addy’s day.
“To me, it was my way of saying ‘I’m here,’ without actually sitting next to her at lunch,” Chris said.
Chris kept slipping notes in her lunch bag, but they never really talked about it. He wasn’t even sure if Addy was reading them, but as they were running late and rushing one day, the young girl reminded him to write a note. That’s when he knew the messages had made an impact on her.
What Chris didn’t know was that his notes would turn into something much bigger. To date, he has written Addy over 690 notes, and in 2018, he published a book on them called “Lucky Enough.”
“When I shared that first note, I never imagined this or that anyone would pay attention,” Chris said. “I thought I would fade into the background as a regular dad who does something nice for his daughter. What’s happened this year is beyond my wildest expectations.”
Chris knows that a book of notes from a dad to his daughter won’t sell a lot and make him a bestselling author, but if it helps even just one parent connect with their kid, then he knows it has done its job.
Before he started writing notes, Chris was just six months into a new job. He had lost his high-profile public relations job in college athletics a few years ago and had been moving his family from city to city for career opportunities.
He felt like he was failing both in his career and as a dad and felt guilty for not being more present in his family’s life.
“With each note I wrote, I was hoping I’d hate myself less because I was trying to be a dad again and help Addison’s anxiety with a new school,” Chris said.
Chris said the notes had strengthened his relationship with Addison. He hopes the messages will help build her character and morals, which he says are “more important than any grade she brings home.”
After four years of writing notes, Chris realized that doing so has allowed him to learn more about himself. More importantly, he has also learned to forgive himself.
“We wouldn’t be having these daily conversations had it not been for losing my job,” he said. “Our relationship would be completely different than what it is today.”
Addison, now 13, is in eighth grade. Chris hopes that the teenager will grow into a strong, confident woman.
While he initially intended to write notes for Addy, he is now doing the same for his son, Jackson, who is starting middle school.
The dad’s advice to other parents is this: “Listen to your kids and be present. That’s all that matters to them.”
Here are a few more inspiring lunch notes from Addison’s dad:
You can get your own copy of “Lucky Enough” from Amazon.