I was part of the 1st generation that completely stopped writing thank you cards. My grandmother made my mother, and most of the mothers that I knew growing up were all taught and mostly forced to write thank you cards. I have listened to them recount the hours of agony trying to figure out what to write to Aunt Edna for sending the horrible sweater. Even Charles Schultz laments the thank you card writing in the Peanuts comic strip which is amazing in its own right. This drudgery was finally illuminated. They all did us a "favor", they would say. "We saved you from that agony of having to write those horrible cards every Christmas and after every birthday."
But what were our elders lamenting really? The ability to thank a relative for thinking enough to send us something? Something that they themselves thought would be lovely for you. We as humans all have different tastes and ideas, unless you are with someone 24/7 you don't honestly know what the4y would like. So you do your best...just like Aunt Edna who bought you that horrible sweater - to her, that was beautiful and you were the only person they thought of when she saw it. That's pretty special and that deserves thanks.
When I grew up I gave people thank you cards because I was a poor starving college student, and a make shift card out of notebook paper was the best I could do to repay someone for the generosity that they showed me. It was amazing! They lit up, they smiled, they were flabbergasted that someone had thought that much.
So my advice: Always have thank you cards.
Have thank you cards on you and in your car (or other mode of transportation).
This is an idea I suggest every single person to take up.
When ever I create clubs and organizations at schools (so far I've create3d 4 clubs that are still standing, and 2 that aren't because of lack of school sponsorship) the first thing I do is to write thank you cards to people. The only requirement is that each person in the club must make 6-7 thank you cards...you are always more than welcome to make more. The second requirement is that they must give 1 to a cafeteria person, 1 to a plant operator what we use to call janitors, and 1 must go to a teacher they really really don't like. Then I explain that when they give it to the person they say, "I thought you deserved a thank you card."
It is amazing what happens. I can't tell you how quickly things change. Suddenly, the classrooms are getting cleaner better, that kids' classroom gets things done quicker, and that grumpy teacher lightens up.
At one school, an old plant operator (what we called janitors a long time ago) was given a thank you card by one of the students. He became angry telling her that she needed to throw her trash away herself. When she explained, he opened it up and begin to cry. "I've done this for 15 years, and this is the 1st time anyone has evwer thanked me for doing what I do. I thought I was invisible." I will never forget those words!
Thank you cards are amazing! A real thank you card [you can get a pack in a dollar store for $1.] Yes, a real thank you card. When you see someone do something awesome, or they did something for you that they really didn't have to...you can walk out to your car and quickly write out a thank you card to them.
This does so so much!!!!
1st, it makes them feel like they are valued
A friend of mine has created an entire company geared to showing people they are valued. The award winning company is called apply: You are Valued or YAV for short.
2nd it shows that someone has taken a moment to think of them enough to actually give them a card. A person took a moment out of their day to say something nice to them...on a real card. Stationary and real writing is going away these days...we can bring it back in the terms of thank you cards. A card is amazing thing...I promise.
3rd...its tangible and touchable....Cards are important to us. Christmas cards are the most non-thrown out item in the world. People keep cards forever. Even me....the one priceless thing I keep in my keepsake box is the last Christmas card and note my mother sent me. Thank you cards are the same way. Who knows what that thank you card will turn into. A symbol that humanity is getting better...or isn't that bad. A symbol of people thinking about them. A moment to remember when they weren't alone or a moment they were valued and thought of. It might be an item that they carry with them to remember that someone thought they were valued. With the insanity of abuse going on...ALL of us need to be reminded that we are valued, appreciated...and someone thanks us for doing what we do.
Thank you...reader...thank you for reading, being inspired, forwarding and talking about these ideas that have the ability to change the world.
Thank you for hiring me in the past or in the future.
Thank you everyone for listening...and for reading!
Chad R. Herman - motivatingforpositivechange.wordpress.com