Wednesday, May 18

The Art of a Thank You

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." - Friedrich Nietzsche

The little phrase "thank you" probably is the most under appreciated phrase in the English language. It's really a shame. People do not use thank you enough and when someone actually does say thank you, it's almost a shock!

Several times, when I have said thank you to my professors when I hand them a completed test, their eyes have bugged and they've actually commented "wow." I find it interesting. I understand, that yes, they gave me an awful test to take but it is only decent for me to say thank you for putting in the time that they do to teach me.

I do try to make the most of the phrase. When I say it - I mean it! The hard part is that some people do not actually think that there is sincerity behind a thank-you. Sometimes, this may be true. The thing is that a thank-you must often be used in a respectful manner as compared to a thankful manner. For example: After a job interview, you are told that you did not get the job. Do you say thank you or not? You should say thank you in general for that person spent time to consider you for the position. It may not be a "thank you for not hiring me" kind of farewell but more of a respectful "thanks for giving me a thought."

"Every time we remember to say "thank you", we experience nothing less than heaven on earth." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

This philosophy of the under appreciation for the phrase "thank you" extends to its partner of thank you cards.

I love receiving thank you cards (& hearing thank you). No matter what it is for. If it is a company saying "thanks for doing business with us," a friend saying "thanks for being a friend," or someone saying "thanks for the great gift!" It's just a fabulous feeling knowing that you have blessed someone's life in special way that day.

The difficulty about thank you cards is the actual writing and sending of them. I have made it my mission that I write my thank you cards within a week of the deserving event. For my graduation from high school, I wrote my thank you notes on the same day that I received the gifts in the mail. I believe taking it little by little takes the stress off of the thank-you writer.

The thank you notes for the wedding was a huge task yet a well needed and deserved task. When Jordan & I received gifts through the mail before our wedding, I would write the notes just like my high school graduation gifts. Getting them done as soon as I could so that I did not procrastinate the monster. Yet, we received a bulk of the gifts at the actual wedding. So how to accomplish this monstrous task? Parter up! Jordan and I worked on the cards together. We got them done as soon as we were back from our honeymoon in Jamaica.

The longer you push off a huge thank you card task, the more painful it seems! The pain is not so present when you are writing one or two thank-yous about a special day or a special friend. I actually enjoy being able to express gratitude to my others through a simple thank you note.

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." - G.K. Chesterton

I bring all this up because today, we had to accomplish a thank-you card beast. Julie, one of my mother's best friends who is like a mother to me, started a colon cancer foundation with her husband Glen, in honor of their daughter Meredith, who passed away at the age of 25 due to colon cancer. She was a delightful soul who fervently loved God and Jesus Christ. Before she had died in April of 2008, she expressed a desire to help other young adults who were battling colon cancer like her. Glen & Julie started Meredith's Miracles Colon Cancer Foundation (MMCCF) with the two-fold mission "to save lives by raising awareness of the symptoms that might indicate colon cancer and to provide financial assistance to young adults undergoing treatment for colon cancer." This foundation has already been a financial blessing to 15 young adults since it's official start under two years ago.

So relating this back to the thank-you cards. MMCCF had a wine-tasting and silent auction event a couple Sunday's ago in Southlake, Texas. Julie had a lot of thank you cards to write to all the attendees and non-attendees who generously donated to MMCCF through this event. So my mom (who is on the MMCCF committee), Julie, and I sat down for a few hours today to tackle the thank-you notes. It truly was a process but a complete blessing as well. The task of writing the thank-you cards was a blessing because that meant that people were generously donating to help the lives of those battling colon cancer through MMCCF.

Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Thank You Notes (slightly edited from Emily Post's wedding etiquette)

    1. Do personalize your notes and make reference to the person as well as the gift
    2. Do remember that a gift should be acknowledge with the same courtesy and generous spirit in which it was given.
    3. Do be enthusiastic, but don't gush. Avoid saying a gift is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen unless you really mean it.
    4. Don't send form letters or cards with printed messages and just your signature; don't use email or post a generic thank you on your website in lieu of a personal note.
    5. Do promptly acknowledge the receipt of shipped gifts by sending a note right away or calling and following up with a written note in a day or two.
    6. Don't mention that you plan to return a gift or that you are dissatisfied in any way.
    7. Don't tailor your note to the perceived value of the gift; no one should receive a perfunctory note.
    8. Do refer to the way you will use a gift of money. Mentioning the amount is optional.
    9. Don't include photos or use photo cards if it will delay sending the note.
    10. Don't use being late as an excuse not to write. Even if you are still sending notes late, keep writing!

    The most sincere of THANK YOUs to those who read my blog. I take great joy in sharing my thoughts with y'all.

    1 comment:

    1. Lindsay, how I wish I had this during my wedding time! So many people need to know this!! Truly an art!!!