By Rachel Paxton
When I was growing up there was an unwritten rule at our house: "Thou shalt write thank you notes." And in a timely manner. You could beg, plead, and hope mom would forget, but she never did.
I still remember my 6-yr-old brain struggling over the pencil and stationery my mom put before me after Christmas and my birthday each year. I didn't know how to spell most of the words I wanted to say, and I struggled trying to come up with a unique note for each relative, my mom spelling the hard words for me as I wrote.
I didn't realize then what a valuable habit my mom was teaching me. To this day I can hear her voice in my head asking "have you written your thank you notes yet?"
I never realized how important saying thank you was until I became an adult and started spending more time and energy trying to do something nice for friends and family.
Some people write out their thank you notes the same day, the thought of not being appreciative completely mortifying them, others prefer verbal thank you's, whether by phone or in person. Whichever method you choose, you should always thank people for the time and/or money they spend to help you or make your life a little brighter.
One of the most precious things I've ever seen is young children writing thank you notes to teachers or friends or someone who has done something nice for them. What a wonderful habit to instill in young children.
Nothing saddens me more than spending weeks or even months on a handmade gift given at a wedding or shower and not ever even having the gift acknowledged one way or the other. There's just no excuse. When my daughter complains about having to write her thank you notes I remind her how she feels when someone doesn't take the time to acknowledge her thoughtfulness, and she immediately has a change of heart. She wants people to feel appreciated just as she herself wants to be appreciated. And that's not too much to ask.
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