Today’s Post is from Jennifer
When I was a young girl, I used to be an avid letter writer. The kind of writer who sits down with pen in hand and decorative designer stationary paper or letterhead on desk ready to write all of the exciting events of my life since I had last seen the recipient of my letter. I also enjoyed drawing little pictures to go with my words that covered several pages about what I had been doing. My envelope was sealed, stamped, and dropped into the mailbox and then my wait for a return letter began. This was always the fun part for me; waiting for the response to come in the mail.
When it came to thank you notes, things were a little different because once I dropped that note into the mailbox, there was never a “promise” of receiving a response for my efforts. At the time, I did not understand that there was something special about that thank you note. Two simple words thank you.
Thank yous come in verbal form as well as in hand written form, but not as often as they should. It is easier to say thank you, than it is to write thank you, so most people opt for the former and call it a day. In some instances a verbal thank you is fine. Most people do not expect to receive a written thank you note for holding the door open for you. Today, most people do not even expect to receive a thank you note because not too many people send them anymore.
If I give a gift to someone, then I do expect a thank you, but I do not expect a thank you note. To clarify, I do not give a gift to receive a thank you, but instead to show my appreciation for that person. When I do receive a thank you note, I am grateful and also impressed because I know somewhere that person learned the importance of thanking someone for their effort; they were “raised right.”
Although I am more concerned with character than impressions, I do want to raise my daughter right and writing thank you notes is one of the many lessons I would like her to learn. Through tired hands and occasionally a few complaints, all of my children have been writing thank you notes for years. I wanted to share a few things we have done to make the “chore” a little less daunting and ways that have stretched their creativity and also improved their writing skills.
Start your children when they are young. Give them crayons, paint, glue, etc. and let them create a picture of choice or if they are able, then have them draw a picture of the present they received or how they were helped.
Depending upon the age of the child, try not to “write the note,” but guide your child so she thinks of and includes a mention of the gift in her note. Receiving dictation from a two year old can be quite entertaining.
If your child is older, then have her address the recipient by name, specifically mention the gift(s), and maybe mention how much she enjoyed the gift or how she plans to use it. There is no need to mention that she “received two of the same thing” or that she “didn’t really like it.” Instead she can say she “plans to share it with her sister or brother, etc.” Remember to always encourage honesty.
If we have quite a few notes to write (ex: birthday thank you notes), then we complete a few notes each day until we are finished with them all and then mail them off together. Seeing the bulk of ones hard work creates a nice sense of accomplishment and often provides the motivation needed to finish all of the notes.
Besides building character, teaching your children to say thank you and also understanding the importance of writing thank you notes (etiquette 101) as well as when to send them, are values that will carry them through to adulthood. Their thank you note may bring needed comfort to someone. Think of how good you feel after receiving a thank you note. They may also be that remembered and later hired candidate after a job interview.
So let your little artist get busy and creative and don’t forget to write your own thank you notes too.
When is the last time you hand wrote a thank you note?
Jennifer is a wife and a homeschool teaching mother of three originally from the big city and now living in small town USA. You can read more from her at Milk & Honey Mommy where she writes incessantly about her accidental love of cooking, shares her take on being green, natural, and crafty, and opens the doors to the head scratching happenings in her house.