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Mom's Time Out

The lost art of handwritten thank you notes

Mary Angel

(4/2018) Thank You! This is a phrase many of us use when someone has given us a gift or done something kind for us. It is far from an over-used phrase, but sometimes it is an over looked phrase. I guess the question I would ask is, "Do you say thank you as often as you should?" I believe saying thank you for a gift is very nice but I think a thank you note is a lost art form.

When I got married my wedding was like a fairy tale to me. It was elegant, beautiful and above all an absolute blast. When everything settled down after we returned from our honeymoon that is when the moms started. "Have you started on your thank you letters?" or "So and such told me they havenít received their thank you yet." My husband viewed the thank you letters as a burden. I now know (having kids of my own and being more mature) that my husband and I were acting like children. I also realize that a simple letter, or even postcard, can make someoneís day. I believe that a note, in any form, sent through the mail (or hand delivered) is a lost art form. To make it extra special hand write it instead of typing it.

Before you even ask, a text or an email is not the same thing. This is not to say that you canít brighten someoneís day with an uplifting text (God knows my husbandís sweet little texts have brought me off many a homeschool ledge), but go the extra mile and write them a letter. Donít limit your letter choices to simple thank you letters. Write a letter to tell someone how much they mean to you, or how much their kindness brightened a bad day. Break out some pretty stationery and let someone know they are doing a great job and without them things would not be the same. Express to someone how much you appreciate them. Maybe there is someone at work, church, or your kidís school who you feel is underappreciated, tell them how much they really are valued. Maybe you know someone who has been going through a rough time (illness, marital problems, trouble at work), send them a little note with some encouraging words and maybe a scripture verse.

When I was a child we would race to the mailbox to be the first to get the mail. This is because back in my day (now I sound old) there was no texting and no email, so everyone mailed letters. You got excited when something in the box was for you. Maybe not my parents as much since all of the bills had mom and dadís names on them. As an adult who has way too many bills come in her name I can definitely attest to the fact that I would love to get something in the mail that is not a bill.

A few years ago, while homeschooling, I encouraged my girls to find a pen pal. It didnít necessarily have to be someone who lived far away, but it did have to be someone they didnít see very often and most definitely didnít text. They had a blast asking questions and waiting for the reply. One of the recipients was my uncle and according to him it was a real joy to not only receive the letters but also in the anticipation of the next letter. My girls and their friend (who is also homeschooled) made valentine cards for everyone in our local assisted living facility two years in a row. The second time they made them they also hand delivered them. The amazing joy on the faces of the people who received those cards was worth its weight in gold.

How many of you have been experiencing a bad day and a loved one dropped you a little note to brighten your spirits? Do you remember as a child getting a card from your grandparent in the mail and the sheer joy it brought to your heart? Something so small and so magical should be easy to take on. I have a friend who is an amazing encourager. She is quick to send an encouraging text when she is thinking of someone or knows a friend is going to have a rough week. She will periodically drop a card (and if I am lucky some of her cookies) off to my house. I also have a husband who has been slipping me little notes of love and encouragement for twenty years (every time he goes out of town I try to figure out how he placed cards around the house without me noticing). I would urge you to try and be someoneís encourager this week. Who knows maybe it will become a fun little habit.

Maybe you will start being a secret encourage for all of your friends and maybe broaden your scope to coworkers and anyone who needs a little pick me up. Think about what a positive change we could all make if we started sending happy little letters through the mail. Imagine how many people who were having a bad day will be influenced in a positive way. If that isnít reason enough how about this little thoughtÖby mailing a letter you are supporting the jobs of postal workers.

So here it is my first article with a challenge. I challenge everyone who reads this to send someone (anyone) a card, a hand written card. It can be a thank you, an encouragement, a simple hello. You can sign it or be that anonymous champion of happy thoughts. To whoever and why ever you choose to send a card, just send it. Take the five minutes to write it and just mail it. Donít forget to have fun with it.

Read other articles by Mary Angel