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Kids and Thank You Notes

When I turned eight I had my first real birthday party. I can remember it vividly. We had a petting zoo, a water balloon fight, and I even got presents from people that weren’t immediate family. It was awesome. I also remember this as the day I learned about the importance of writing thank you notes. My mother told me that I was going to have to write a thank you note to everyone who came to my party.

A thank you note?

Why do I have to write a thank you note just because people came to my party? I mean, we were the ones who hosted the party, provided the cake, and animals for petting.

My mother said that it was the “proper” thing to do. Like a good little girl, I obeyed my mother and wrote thank you notes to all my friends. During the process, I realized I was actually having a lot of fun. I thanked people for the gifts they got me, and I drew silly faces on the back of each card. I was hooked.

Best of all, a couple weeks later, some of my friends were thanking me for the cards I sent. It turns out that showing your gratitude not only makes other people feel good, but it can make you feel good too.

Now that I’m a mother, I’m trying to teach my children the same lesson. But, things have changed a little. The world is a less formal place.

I find myself wondering if the era of thank you note has ended. Will my children be looked upon as old fashion fuddie duddies if their friends start receiving thank you notes unexpectedly? I’ve been trying to come to terms with this dilemma for some time now, and I’d like to know your feelings regarding the place of thank you notes in the modern world. But, I have resolved the issue for me, personally.

I just don’t care what the world thinks. If being courteous is wrong then I don’t want to be right. And I don’t want my kids to be right. If the world has changed, perhaps we, as mothers, can change it back. Let’s teach our kids the importance of saying “thank you”.

Someone bought you something nice? Say thanks.

Someone went out of their way to do something nice for you? Say thanks.

Someone did you a favor? Say thanks.

There are plenty of things we should fear our children learning. But, saying thank you shouldn’t be one of them. Let’s teach our children to be more courteous than we are, not less.

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