Validation ~ Excerpt from BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life

Validation ~ Excerpt from BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life

It’s a books by others day here on the blog ! I love days like this. Today I have the privilege of sharing an excerpt from Julie Saffrin’s book, BlessBack – Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life. I’ve known Julie a long time and for her, gratitude is a way of life – I’ve seen it in her. You might want to have a piece of paper handy, because this BlessBack might inspire you to thank a person or two who did something to make a difference in your life. Please read all the way to bottom – Julie has a very special drawing and free gifts for you!



One evening, Tom O’Brian watched his favorite TV show. During a commercial break, a news anchor gave a public service announcement encouraging viewers to thank a teacher who had made a difference in their lives.

Tom thought of Futuristics, a special course he took in high school twenty-five years ago. Leonard Bielke, his teacher, had designed and implemented the new course. The program was experimental and structured around the concept of future-thinking. It combined English, history, geography and math courses. Tom was a junior when Mr. Bielke asked him to participate in the course. Tom flourished under Mr. Bielke’s instruction and loved the class. He wrote his final paper on the future demographics of the city of Richfield. Pleased with Tom’s work, Mr. Bielke sent it to the city planner. The planner invited Tom to his office and asked him how he made his projections. Tom told him it was Mr. Bielke who taught him to look at trends and extrapolate data to predict the city’s growth.

Two months after hearing the PSA on TV, Tom stopped at a fast-food restaurant for breakfast. Already late for work, he knew he had to hurry

Standing in line, he spotted a man who looked like Henry Kissinger. Tom thought again of the PSA and Mr. Bielke. On second look, Tom realized the man was Mr. Bielke.

Okay , he thought. I’m going to stretch myself . He stepped out of line and tapped Mr. Bielke’s shoulder.  Mr. Bielke turned to face him.

“Hi, Mr. Bielke. I’m Tom O’Brian … I was one of your students in the ’70s,” he said. He shared how the organizational and forward-thinking skills he learned from him forged his career path. “I just wanted to thank you for everything I learned from you.”

“Why, Tom O’Brian. Yes, I remember you,” Mr. Bielke said. “You wouldn’t believe how many years of effort I put into that program to make it work. Thank you for thanking me. I want you to know you’ve made my day.” He shook Tom’s hand, turned and ordered his food and sat down in a booth.

A few minutes later, he walked to Tom in line. “Would you like to join me for breakfast?”

“I would love to but I’m already late for work,” Tom said. “Thank you for asking me, though.”

“You know,” Mr. Bielke said. “I’d like to change what I said. You just didn’t make my day. You made my life.”

Tom stood there, choked up. “I was astounded by the impact of my words,” he later said. “I felt honored back by him. I was so glad I stepped out and took a risk.”

For twenty-five years, Mr. Bielke had wondered if the ideas presented in his future-thinking course had made an impact on students’ lives. Because one person, on a chance encounter, expressed his thanks, Mr. Bielke was validated.  All it took was receiving recognition and thanks for advancing another’s career.

Valid means possessed of health and strength . When we validate others with a BlessBack, we show we recognize their value. We make visible the good we see. We renew their life’s purpose and substantiate their existence by telling them the good ways in which they have affected us. And we, in the afterglow of giving, are validated, too.

More inspiration from Julie. . .

S pecial Giveaway: Leave a comment below and later, Julie will send one blessed person TWO copies of BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life – one for you and one for someone you’ve been blessed by or would like to bless. She will customize the autographs as requested by the winner.

Everyone wins! Julie is offering these two beautiful Lavish Love prints. Simply download them, print, and enjoy.

To learn more about Julie, the book, and the other products she offers readers visit

To purchase a copy of BlessBack from Amazon, click on the book cover below:

About Joy DeKok

Joy DeKok is a multipublished author. She not only enjoys sharing her writing, but also the writing of friends who write and authors whose writing she enjoys.


  1. Let’s talk about this!

    Validation is important, and often doesn’t come right away. In the last years of my mother in law’s life, we had several face to face validations which were very different than the many face to face confrontations we’d had in the past. It was amazing the way our relationship changed as we blessed each other back. Distance was replaced with a trusting closeness. I’m grateful for every time we chose to say truthful things that built up and no longer tore us down. She’s in heaven now, but the example of the power of our BlessBacks continues to work in my life.

    Has someone blessed your life with validation? Is there someone you need to validate?

    Let Julie know here and two copies of BlessBack could be yours!

  2. Julie has really inspired me to thanks people who have been instrumental in making my day, my year, my life blessed and to do it before it is too late. How different a world we would live in if we would just stop and thank those who have made a difference in our lives whether in a small or signficant way.

  3. There are many people who have influenced my life over the years. Most of them are now in heaven with the Lord. Recently though, Father has brought a dear couple into my life who knows how to give, and gives with all of their hearts. They encourage me to pursue my new business and have been their for me and my husband when we have really needed someone. We would love to say thank yo to them in a special way. God bless you for helping people to see the importance of blessing back.

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