My older daughter recently turned nine, which means she received some nice gifts from friends and family, which in turn means I had to go all drill sergeant on her to get her to write thank-you notes. Not that I called her “maggot” or anything, but I stayed right on her case until she got them all done.
I like to think I’m more grateful and gracious than the average nine-year-old, but when it comes time to sit down and write a thank-you, I get mysteriously busy with other tasks.
That’s when I have to turn the drill sergeant on myself. I’ll let you in on the inner monologue that gets it done for me…
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You call yourself grateful, Slacker? You’re a disgrace! Suck it up, sit down, and get to work. NOW!
Translation: Ungrateful much? Somebody went out of his or her way to do a kind thing for you, and you can’t even take five minutes to write a little thank you? Come on…
You’re all out of stamps and pretty paper? Lost the address? Well, guess what. You just made things harder on yourself!
Translation: Lack of preparation is no excuse. Keep your addresses updated and a stash of stamps and stationery in an easy-to-find spot. Thank-you cards, blank note cards and stationery sheets are all good options to have on hand.
Writer’s block? So sorry to hear that, Private Shakespeare! But this isn’t fine literature we’re talking about. Forward, MARCH!
Translation: Like marching, there’s a rhythm to writing thank-you notes:
LEFT—“Thank you so much for…”
RIGHT—“This means a lot/I love it/Here’s what I’m planning to do with it.”
LEFT—“You’re the best/I appreciate it!/Thanks again for thinking of me!”
Don’t make Aunt Myrtle Facebook you to see if her package arrived. Go for a preemptive strike.
Translation: Be prompt. For general gifts, favors and hospitality: Send the thank you within three days. For life-event gifts and favors (graduation, wedding, baby), send within one month. In general: The sooner the better…but better late than never.
Permission denied, even if you DO have multiple notes to write.
Translation: Break the task into a couple of marathon sessions if you must. But unless your water just broke in the middle of your umpteenth baby-shower thank-you note, stick it out and finish what you started.
…that a warm, sincere note of thanks can really make someone’s day.
Translation: If you put a little heart into what you write, you can make the people you’re thanking feel great about themselves and what they did for you. What could be more important than that?
Translation: You got the job done. DISMISSED!