The lost art of the hand written thank you card...
I grew up in a home where if you accepted anything from someone and you didn’t say thank you, they’d snatch the item back and yell at you. Or your parent would give you a death stare with a non-verbal motion that suggested they were about to ask, "What are you supposed to say?" Saying thank you was the bare minimum.
We were poor. Saying thank you was the least expensive was to show your appreciation and gratitude. And when you really wanted to take the thank you a step further, we'd make a hand written card.
As I've gotten older, I started to neglect sending handwritten thank you cards. And I didn't make time to buy the ready made ones either. I didn't prioritize showing my appreciation, especially in my twenties. Sadly, I told myself I was too busy. And it seemed like a task to think of what to write--pure laziness.
I'm so glad that I've reprioritized and recognized how important it is to tell others that you care. I'm a HUGE fan of handwritten thank you cards. I send them after receiving gifts, to improve someone's day or just because. I also make sure that my son does the same, even for birthday gifts. I don't want him to ever take for granted or have a sense of entitlement about receiving even on his birthday. Thank you notes are a MUST before you touch any gift!
My old boss invited me and my family into his home. I sent a thank you card. My friend sent me flowers when I was in the hospital. I sent a thank you card. My trainer gave me a little extra time over the course of a month. I sent a thank you card. Each time, the recipient was very grateful that I took the time to thank them. Isn't that weird? Thanking someone for sending a thank you card. That's exactly how you know the mere act itself it very much appreciated. Handwritten notes are becoming a lost art in this technological age. In this 24x7x365 hyper-connected society, unplugging for a quick second to write something other than a text message will have a heartfelt impact on the recipient.
You know what else I learned as I matured? It's never too late to send a heartfelt thank you. My high school teacher bought me a pair of prescription glasses. I had no healthcare coverage and was kind of homeless at the time. She noticed that I was smart, but my participation declined drastically. She broke every school rule to drive me to the eye doctor to make sure I could see. I tracked her down twenty years later. She's now a professor at Michigan State. I wrote her a lengthy letter not only expressing my gratitude, but telling her how her kind act changed my entire life. She cried. She was flooded with happiness.
People need to know how their acts of kindness impact the world. If you start implementing a simple process to write one thank you card a week, you'll make other people's lives better and you'll see beautiful things starting to happen in your life. Think about the last time someone sent you a thank you note. How did it make you feel? The last time I received a thank you note it was in the form of a voice message. With tearful words, my little sister via the Big Brother Big Sister program, voiced how appreciative she was for all my acts of kindness over the years. Acts that I had long forgotten. I didn't know I impacted her life in that way. That message made me feel like my life had purpose. It made me feel like I need to impact more lives in the very same way.
The fact that voicing and writing thank you notes is so rare, it makes the act even more valuable. And there is nothing overrated about showing someone you care. And quite frankly, this is basic etiquette 101 taught to us by our grannies. This practice should be handed down to your kids as well. Don’t let too much time pass before writing a note and don’t make it one of those mass produced, insincere ones. Gratitude is not generic and it takes relatively little time and money to produce a handwritten note or letter. Costs so little yet means so much.......