This I Believe

Laura - Northfield, Minnesota
Entered on April 24, 2006

Although my philosophies of life and rules to live by are constantly morphing as I grow older, there is one rule I always try to follow: keep an ample supply of thank you notes on hand. And I don’t just mean go buy a stack when your birthday is coming up or your bridal shower is around the corner or you are preparing for the Christmas-present-haul; I mean always, because you never know when you’ll need to show some appreciation. Hell, I even keep thank you notes in my car.

When I was young, I used to whine to my mother all the time after my birthday about writing and sending thank you notes. She insisted I do so, but I found the practice archaic and a general waste of time. Thank you notes were a chore, one that I must complete or face the penalty of losing dessert. I remember saying, “But m-om, Nichole’s parents don’t make her write out thank you notes, she can just call and thank people for her birthday presents.” Obviously, my parents didn’t go for that. “Well, we aren’t Nichole’s parents, are we? You have to write thank you notes because it’s the right thing to do, so do it.”

They were right; sending thank you notes is the right thing to do in order to show your appreciation for someone. We’ve all had the experience of receiving a really sweet thank you note promptly; this always makes my day a little bit better, knowing that someone has thought about me. Unfortunately, we all have the experience of not receiving one. And that is something I would never intentionally do.

Just yesterday I got a new package of thank you notes. Nothing special, just plain pink and green-checkered cards bought for a dollar at Target. But most of the time that’s all you need to make someone feel loved and appreciated. I’ve found that sending out thank-you’s for all sorts of things–gifts, hospitality, kindness, even teaching my confirmation classes in eleventh grade–make others and myself feel good.

And isn’t that sort of what life is about: trying to make the world a happier place? I think I’ve found a way to accomplish this with a twenty-cent piece of card stock and a little ink.