Reading for Treasure

The Art of Thanks

Posted at Oct 27, 2016 8:00 am

“Thanks,” you say after a friend or neighbor does you a favor. “I really appreciate it.”  And you do. Nothing more is needed.

But a thank-you note—the old fashioned kind written in real ink on paper or a card—holds a special kind of power.

The thank-you notes I had to write as a child were dry and forced. I’m ashamed to admit that I wiggled out of that dreaded task more often than not. When I did write them the formula rarely varied. “Dear _____, Thank you for the ______.  Sincerely, _______” Short, but not sweet.

My attitude changed the day I received a sincere thank-you note of my own. Reading those few heartfelt words made me feel special.  Like I mattered.  Like I’d done something wonderful. I felt appreciated. The gift I’d given seemed small in comparison to the gift of thanks I received.

That’s the power of a thank you note.

It’s a far cry from “Dear X, thank you for Y.” This kind of note is a personalized celebration of the relationship between the giver and the recipient.  It’s the kind of thanks I want to give.

In the spirit of confession, I have to admit that I still go for the verbal—or social media—thanks more than I should. It’s acceptable, but not special. And if I had it to do over again, here’s the kind of thank-you note I’d write:


“Dear Sister,

Thank you so much for the wild pink “onion goggles” you gave me for my birthday. They reminded me of how much fun we had making spaghetti sauce together the last time we visited our parents. From now on, every time I chop onions, I’ll think of you and smile—instead of crying!”

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