The notes were so inspiring that they have were published as a book in 2018 and is set to be translated into Korean later this year.
It was in 2017 that Addison Yandle's parents noticed a considerable shift in her demeanor. She had just started fourth grade and the usually cheerful girl had turned moody and anxious. Something wasn't right. "She was more reserved than normal, and she was anxious about going to school," recalled Dr. Chris Yandle, reported PEOPLE. "We'd later learn that she was being bullied by a supposed friend of hers." Addison's father wanted to cheer her up and started leaving small lunch notes. The first one he wrote 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!" Dr. Yandle didn't think much of it, he just wanted to lift her spirits. "I thought it might make her smile or brighten her day," he explains of the note. "To me, it was my way of saying 'I'm here,' without actually sitting next to her at lunch."
He kept writing lunch notes in her bag, but they never really spoke about it. He wasn't sure she was even reading them but then one day as they were running late and rushing, his daughter reminded him to write the note. That's when he knew that she was reading the notes and it meant something to her. "It has definitely strengthened our relationship," he said. "Writing these messages and potentially helping Addison build her character and her morals, that's more important than any grade she brings home."
As he left small notes to his daughter, little did he realize that it would one day be published as a book. He has written a total of 691 notes to his daughter, including inspirational sayings and quotes. The book titled Lucky Enough was released in 2018 and is all set to be published in Korean later this year. "I've said this from the beginning: I knew I would never be a bestselling author," he said. "A book of notes from a dad to his daughter isn't going to sell a lot of books, unfortunately. But if it helps just one parent connect with their kid, then that's a bestselling book to me."
Dr. Yandle says he's a proud girl dad and is enjoying the close bond they share. Addison is now 13 and about to start 8th grade. For him, it was always about connecting with his daughter and cheering her up. "When I first starting writing to Addison, I thought it would last a few weeks, maybe a few months, and she'd tell me to stop doing it or that I would forget to do it," he said. "After a few weeks of sharing her messages online with family and friends, the response from the notes and the messages behind them was overwhelming."
The notes also marked a personal journey for him. His career in college athletics communications meant that his family was forced to move multiple times. Through his notes, he had come to peace with his role as a dad. "I hadn't forgiven myself for losing my previous job and forcing our family to move home to Louisiana. I hated myself for it. After four years of notes, I've learned a tremendous amount about myself, and I've learned to finally forgive myself because we wouldn't be having these daily conversations had it not been for losing my job," he said.
He hopes his words of advice will guide his daughter in the future. "Our world is difficult enough as it is, but to be a woman in this world is exponentially [more] difficult," said Dr. Yandle. "We all will fail at times and we will all face battles as we grow older, but my hope is that she trusts herself and is the best version of herself."
Those interested can purchase Dr. Chris Yandle's book, Lucky Enough, here.