Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Lost Art of a 'Thank You' Note.....

I think the title says it all today.  Sending a 'thank you' note has really become a lost...well, art seems like the wrong word.  It's become a lost tradition, I think, in many households.  Along with the things we need to teach our children early, writing a thank you to people ought to be of paramount importance.  I never truly realized how 'lost' this tradition had become until I began discussing it with friends.  Some have their children send these notes, others don't.  Don't get me wrong - calling a relative or friend when you receive a gift or a check in the mail is outstanding.  It is, however, an educational lesson if we teach them the importance of taking the time to write the thank you note rather than simply picking up the phone.  It seems to mean more, I think.  It shows you have taken the time to sit and put your 'thanks' into words.  Your words...and it is always appreciated.  As a parent, I realize I was remiss in doing this.  I remember fielding phone calls from parents, siblings, and friends asking if a check had been received.  Always, my answer was, "I'm not sure but I'll find out."  When I did inquire about the check or the gift, I was always told that, "Yes, I got it."  When I asked if it had been acknowledged, the answer was always the same, too - "Not yet."  I immediately either dialed the number or asked that the call be made.  Should I have had to?  I don't think so.  I don't think, when a child gets to be a certain age, they should have to be told to say, "Thank you," for accepting a gift, no matter what it was.  I have even gone so far as to buy the notes to be sent, asking only that they add a stamp, a few words, and an address.  It never happened...which is why I had to ask if this has truly become a lost tradition.

Seriously, how long does it take?  The relatives or friends that sent the gift, typically money so you can buy whatever your heart desires, would like to know that it was received and, more importantly, that it was appreciated.  What does it say when you DON'T send a thank you note?  It says, to me at least, that you are almost expecting someone to send you something.  It says you think you are worthy and deserve what they are sending so there is no reason to acknowledge it.  Truly, I had something similar happen when I was younger.  A grandmother, that we saw rarely, used to send my sister and I money in the mail every year for our birthdays.  At one point (guilty as charged), we had not been sending thank you notes and I mentioned to my sister that, as we were now a little older, we should ride our bikes to visit her and thank her personally.  Yeah, umm, that kind of backfired.  It was the last time she ever sent the card and money.  I assume it was because she was paying us to NOT come see her.  probably my sister that she was allergic to or something.  I jest, but the story is real.  She never sent the scratch again.  Bummer.  Not even sure why i told that story, actually.  it goes against everything I've been saying.  Okay, forget you read it.  Thanks.

Honestly, though, can we start a comeback of this glorious, timeless tradition?  Can we teach our kids that this is an important and meaningful thing to do?  Why don't we just go to the store, buy a BOX of these darn things, and keep them in the desk drawer?  Don't have a desk drawer?  Keep them in the junk drawer in the kitchen...and don't even TRY to tell me you don't have one of those.  We all do.  Yeah, I can feel myself digressing, but I'm going with it.  The drawer.  THE drawer.  It really is a good place for the notes because it has Scotch tape, pens, pencils (merely for homework), paper notepads with the "Smith's Heating" on the header, scissors, a few receipts from getting the oil changed, an old pair of glasses that no one knows who owns, and house keys...belonging to someone else's house.  Where the hell did THEY come from?  No matter - here's the point:  Kids need to say "Please," and "Thank you," often.  They need to show the appreciation for the time and thoughtfulness of relatives and friends.  They need to know that Thank You notes never go out of style...even when you're all grown up.

Until next time......

No comments:

Post a Comment