Many Thanks! Bringing Back the Thank-You Note in Our E-mail Age

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I helped my parents move into a smaller home several years ago. While helping Mom decide what to keep and give away, I came across a box filled with letters and cards, many dating back 50 years. Many of these were written by me to my mother. As I poured over a few of them, my heart was filled with gratitude all over again. I asked her why she had saved so many for so long. Her simple response was, “They are treasures!”

Showing gratefulness to someone can be just that — a treasure on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, in our age of microwave quickness and e-mail efficiency, many have lost sight of the importance of a handwritten note. Yes, it takes a little time, a stamp, and a walk to the mailbox. But when you think about it, don’t you just love getting something besides bills and ad flyers every afternoon?

Thank-you notes don’t have to start when your child can form his own complete sentences on paper. This trend can begin as early as infancy. A friend of mine had notes printed with a picture of her baby’s footprint. The gratitude came from the mother’s hand and “baby’s feet”.

When your child is able to write his/her name, copy for them exactly what they want to say and at the bottom of the note, have them sign their own name. You’ll be teaching them to spread gratefulness, while reinforcing positive self-esteem through writing their name.

As they grow up, writing thank-you notes not only for gifts received, but also for time spent or conversations shared, will hopefully become the norm. Encourage your student to write a note to his/her teacher, principal, lunch lady, or custodian. (It shouldn’t be just the parents who are grateful for what these folks have done!)

I wouldn’t give anything for the box of “treasures” found in my mom’s things. There were Mother’s Day and birthday cards, for sure, as well as little notes of thanks for coming to a school play and longer letters filled with tears of gratefulness for a mother’s wisdom in lost love — “thank yous” can be for any reason. What’s important is to say it! So when Grandma drops by, bringing little Will or Mary a new book or toy, wouldn’t it be great to have your child send a thank-you note all their own? Believe me, it will be treasured, and you may see that note again in 50 years or so!  

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Living in and loving Birmingham, Alabama is just standard fare in this family. Both Lynn and her husband Wes have lived in the city all of their lives. In fact, both sets of grandparents hail from Birmingham as well. Having raised four children to adulthood, it's now time for Lynn to give back, sharing bits of what she has learned through years of tears and triumphs. Thirty-three years of marriage and twenty-eight years of raising kids has been a roller coaster Lynn would ride again and again! With empty-nesting as her new normal, she has time to volunteer at her church, help other women decorate their homes, dabble in creative lettering, and write poetry.

1 COMMENT

  1. Lynn, I love writing handwritten notes and receiving them! They are rare these days unless it’s a bridal shower or a wedding gift. What a treasure you have in that box! Thank you for such a great reminder!

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