Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Art of the Thank You

Four years old and never written a thank-you card before. Pathetic, isn't it?

I could excuse it as he couldn't write his letters the first few years. I could say the words would have expressed my gratitude instead of his. And I definitely could shrug it off as just one of a zillion things that has slipped through the cracks since I've had children.

Whatever the reason, this past Christmas morning when Wyatt decided one present wasn't enough and voiced his heart with the words "I'm not thankful," I became painfully aware that thankfulness doesn't come naturally.

The children and I spend our days exchanging thank you's and you're welcome's as a regular part of conversation.

But polite words don't always reflect an attitude of thankfulness.

That must be cultivated.

To that end, Wyatt and I have spent many an afternoon at a kitchen table covered with envelopes and cards. Polar bears, mallard ducks, and a black wolf adorned the front of freebie cards I'd stuffed in my stationery drawer over the years. Not exactly the type card I would send out, but they were fabulous as far as he was concerned.

In each card, he would write the name of the person he wished to thank, then pass it to me. I would remind him what that person gave him and then write exactly the words he wanted to say.

Many times, I had to suppress a snicker. Other times, I had to prompt him for other ideas concerning why he liked the gift. I loved one where he had me write. "Thank you for ____. This is Wyatt."

Afterwards, I passed the card back to him for his signature.

By the end of the stack, I could tell he was beginning to learn the art of saying thank you.

Yes, I'm sure the cards will end up in the garbage dump or a recycling bin. But, hopefully, the gratitude will continue to live on and blossom in the heart of the thankful.

1 comment:

  1. What an important lesson you're teaching your kids. Last year I sent a very nice wedding gift to family out of state, and I never heard back if they even received it, so I had to call and ask. Needless to say, there was no thank you card.

    Good job, Mom! We need more mothers like you to teach children the art of good manners...