Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Importance of Thank You

I needed to take my laptop into the store today to get some bugs worked out, but the Heavens decided to drop down buckets of water instead.  I opted to cancel my appointment and reschedule it for tomorrow. I'm glad I did primarily because I wanted to write this blog and am fearful they may have to take my computer overnight to get everything worked out.

The nonexistent beauty of saying "Thank You."

This is a huge pet-peeve of mine.  Probably my biggest pet-peeve ever:  not saying "thank you" or writing a "thank you" note.

"A personal, handwritten, thank-you note is the finest form of expressing gratitude," according to Advanced Etiquette.  I couldn't agree more.  Take the time and effort to show genuine appreciate with a handwritten note card, as people have done for hundreds of years.

The first known greeting exchange was in the early ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures. The letters were written on papyrus - a thin paper-like material made from the pith, or center, of the papyrus plant. By the 1400's, the European's were not only writing notes but these letters were also hand delivered!  How even more extraordinary!  Can you imagine how even more special of a gift that was?  To receive a hand-delivered, hand-written thank you note??  I'm swooning.  I can only imagine that upon delivery, opening, and reading of the kind gesture that it was followed by tea and conversation under the veranda with a cool summer breeze sweeping across the two friends' faces.  The intimacy of such friendship was valued so much that the thank-you note was more than just something that was a forced gesture.  It truly was a heartfelt reciprocation of the gift or service that was given.  Thus, the gift kept on giving!

The postage stamp came around in 1840 which made giving thank you letters easier and to a broader range of people without having to travel long distances, and just a few years after the postage stamp was invented, a German immigrant brought the idea of thank-you notes to America.  As emails and texts replace letters as our primary source of communication, thank-you notes have become all the more valued.

I was raised properly to always say thank you and to always follow the verbal "thank you" with a thank-you note.  Gratitude should never be assumed, especially if a gift was given via mail.  Never should one give with the expectation of a compliment, but it should at least be acknowledged so that it's noted it was received.  I have in particular noticed this more so with people over the age of 60.  They want to know that the gift they gave (i.e. for a wedding, birthday, anniversary, just because...) was received and not lost in the mail.  Personally, I have seen both sides of the thank-you note:  the one that is right on time, and the one that is way too late (like over a year late... but I guess better late than never?)

In this virtual, fast world we now live in, it is easy for an email to be lost and buried among the thirty emails that will follow it.  However, a hand written thank-you letter is one that is usually saved, hung on a wall, or placed as a keepsake.  It makes you stand out in a crowd.  It makes you memorable.  The uniqueness of your own handwriting and the time you took out of your day to sit down and thoughtfully process a well crafted letter is endearingly beautiful and rewarding to the receiver.

I am constantly learning in so many ways that not everyone was raised the way I was, therefore I should not expect others to reciprocate in the same way I do.  However, I believe that thank-you notes are a lost art and should be something that should be continued and ingrained in our society.  If you don't like the gift or it's the wrong size, etc, there's no need to negate the fact that someone thought enough to send you something.  A simple "thank you" can go a long way, and if for no other reason to acknowledge that you received the gift and appreciate the gesture.

Don't be the person that has to apologize for being late to say "thank you."

"May the LORD now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this."  2 Samuel 2:6


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