I have had the opportunity to write a lot of thank you cards lately. Growing up, I found them difficult. Even though my mom gave me guidelines for such compositions, I always worried about saying something wrong, or not saying enough. As I stared at that intimidating blank space on the inside of a little card, filling it with eloquent words seemed an impossible task. I usually just wrote a short sentence or two in big letters and hoped that the recipient wouldn’t think me ungrateful.
Now that I’m older, I take more pleasure in composing cards. Whether they’re birthday cards, graduation cards, or thank you cards, I find it easier to write them from the heart. I have also discovered that I am much better at expressing my thoughts through writing than speaking, though I know some may say the inverse is true for them.
Regardless of the method of communication, telling someone “thank you” is vastly important. I’m not just talking about thanking your waiter at a restaurant or your grandma for a birthday gift. Sometimes a person needs to know that you are grateful for their kindness, friendship, and the good times you’ve had together.
Not being appreciated is a miserable situation for anyone. In fact, in the time of knights and heroes, ingratitude was one of the worst sins. The term comitatus referred to the relationship between a chieftain and his thanes. The warriors defended their leader, who rewarded them generously. In Macbeth (or my favorite misspelling, Madbeth), the main character betrayed his king and spurned his generosity. In that day and age, such a betrayal and lack of gratitude were unthinkable.
In summary, gratitude is an age-old concept that has lost much of its potency in this modern setting. Our generation of young people is not as grateful as it could be. While doing some research, I discovered this interesting and appropriate quote:
A vast majority of Americans (82 percent) believe that handwritten notes are an important habit for a young person to cultivate. Only 14 percent didn’t get the written memo and think they are an outdated and unnecessary gesture. Handwritten notes are not only an homage to more gracious times, but whatever sentiment they convey ranging from thanks to condolences, they represent time taken to personalize a feeling. There are still some things that cannot be improved by technology, this simple human action is a good example of one.CBS News poll, 2014
Perhaps it’s time to revisit that dusty box of thank you notes. In times like these, we all need a little extra gratitude. If you connect with a friend or family member through a note, it could open the door to some amazing possibilities! If you’re like the younger version of me and shudder at the thought of filling a blank note with writing, try to step back and expand your perspective. You don’t need to say everything exactly right—just say it from the heart. Mention a fun memory or give them a blessing. There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to writing cards.
With that, I will bid you farewell. My stack of thank you notes calls to me, begging to be written and released across land and sea like a multitude of little paper butterflies. See you in the next blog post! 🙂