Publisher's Note

The lost art of writing a thank you note

Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Now that graduation and wedding season are in full swing, a little reminder of the value of a thank you note weighs heavily on my mind.

Sadly, handwritten letters have become increasingly less common. They have been replaced by texts or emails for the sake of convenience. It seems like crossing the thank you note off the to-do list takes precedence over composing a thoughtful note.

Composing a thank you note is a moment to reflect on your good fortune, specifically on something you’ve been given — whether it be another person’s time, knowledge or money in the form of a gift — and to express your gratitude.

It’s an opportunity to practice gratefulness in a timely manner.

It's important to be timely because that’s the only way the giver knows you’ve received the gift most of the time — unless you say thank you, they don’t know if it has even gotten there. Thanking them via social media, email or text may be quick and easy, but it doesn’t carry the impact of a hand-written note. Personally, I think electronic acknowledgements look like you didn’t think enough of their gift to sit down and write a proper thank you note.

The formal protocols some of us were raised with have unfortunately fallen by the wayside. We no longer live in a world where children call their elders Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but rather use their first names. But when a child receives a gift from an adult, he or she should learn how to write a thank you note because, someday, that skill set is going to come in very handy.

One final note, for those of you who might slack off on your thank you notes and are reading this feeling very guilty — it’s NEVER TOO LATE to write an overdue note —if you write a thank you note that also carries an apology for being tardy. ■


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