Lessons From A 6-Year-Old

How soon should a thank you note be written after the event that requires one? “Requires one,” you might ask? We will come back to that later. For now, let’s pose the question again. How soon should a thank you note be written? So as to not be dictatorial, the answer to this question is, the sooner the better. As soon as is feasible after the event. And certainly, before you receive one for something you did in the same time frame. Especially if the thank you note you receive is from a 6-year-old!

Mike and I traveled to Alabama a little over a month ago for the 50th anniversary party of long-time good friends. We stayed with another friend while we were in the area. Our friend who hosted us prepared meals for us, took me on an outing antiquing, and in general, provided great care for us for three days. And although I was very appreciative of my friend’s hospitality and had planned to write my thank you note as soon as we returned home, other things got in the way, and it has yet to be written. Imagine my chagrin when I received a lovely note from my other friend’s granddaughter, the friend who we were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, for a gift I took her when we were there for the anniversary party. My chagrin was due to my guilt over my thank you note to my other friend being so tardy, and recognizing how important it is to show appreciation for what we receive, tangible or otherwise.

I was touched beyond words by the thank you note from Ella Mae. I give her parents credit for teaching her the importance of gratitude, and likely helping her to express it. While I think the words are Ella Mae’s, her parents probably encouraged her to write the note, made sure she had the stationery on which to write it, and mailed it for her. I sent a FB message to her mom, letting her know how much I appreciated Ella Mae’s note, and asked that she tell her that I have it on my refrigerator for all to see how much I appreciate it.

In case you need help with the wording of a proper thank you note, Ella Mae’s note can be used as a model. She didn’t just thank me, she told me how much she appreciates it without using those words, by telling me where she has the dolls placed in her room. And how about her words, “Thank you for always being so sweet?” That is precious beyond words, and warmed my heart in a manner few things have.  

Now, back to the question of whether or not a thank you note is “required.” When someone is gracious to us, why would we not thank them in writing for that? I do not want to assume that my readers do not know this. I imagine many are like me, just tardy in sending the handwritten note. Hopefully, this example of my 6-year-old friend is a story that can be remembered and can encourage us to do what we should in this regard. We really are not too busy to do the right thing. How long does it take, really? Maybe ten minutes max?

Thank you, Ella Mae. You touched my heart with your lovely note. I treasure it.

Now, before another day passes, I will have written and mailed my overdue thank you note. And that is not the only one I need to write, some are even tardier. Oh, me! I really must do better!

About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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1 Response to Lessons From A 6-Year-Old

  1. Pam says:

    Tears welled up as I read your post! You are so dear to my heart and thank you does not seem adequate for your love and support for all these many years. Written thank you notes are a dying art replaced by emails and text messages. I bragged on my sweet Ella Mae💕

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