I went to mailbox Friday and there it was. In its simple white envelope, with my name slightly misspelled, was a true treasure–Real Mail! Not only was it a piece of real mail, it was a real thank you note. I mean real, as in hand made, hand written, straight from Abby’s heart to ours!
The message was short, but definitely sweet:
In that instant, I remembered, yet again, why thank you notes still matter. That note made us feel special. It made us feel like our niece appreciated our gift and our love for her. It made our relationship two way and not one way.
As we parent our children, some of the greatest gifts we can give them are to learn to make other people feel special, to appreciate not only what they have been given, but those who have given them those things and that relationships are two way streets.
The not-so-simple thank you note is a great way to instill those precious values in our children. It’s not always easy. At first, you may need to require that they be written. There were occassions when we wouldn’t let our boys play with their gifts until a thank you was written.
What began as lessons in respect, love and thankfulness became the character of our boys who would all to soon become men.
Here are a few things to consider when teaching your children to write their thank you notes:
1) Start with a greeting. A simple “Dear Auntie and Uncle” is perfect. (Well, only if that is the name of the person you are sending the note to.
2) Say thank you. Just be upfront and direct. “Thanks so much for the birthday money. I can’t wait to use it when I go school shopping.”
3) Make it personal. It’s great to add a line about how the person is special to you. I love how Abby did this in our card when she said, “Thank you so much for always remembering me, and it’s cool how my friends met you. Some of them told me you were really awesome, and I was like, duh, she’s a Farris!”
4) Humor is okay! Abby did a great job adding a little splash of humor at the end–which I loved! Sometime we think that our thank you’s have to be all business, but it’s good to share something you know will make your recipient smile!
5) Say it again! Close out with something like a “Thanks again!” and then. . .
6) Sign out. A simple “Love, Abby” or just “Abby” is always appropriate. (Again, only if Abby is your name!)
Then just pop that puppy in an envelope, address it, stamp it and mail it. I have to add this final step because it’s not uncommon that after going to the effort to get the notes written, we forget to put them in the mail. And then someone, like me, misses out on the joy of receiving their real, live thank you card and their real, live blessing!!
Mama Mia! Let’s get writing some thank you cards today!