Sunday, January 29, 2012

In praise of a heartfelt note

A few weeks ago in Parade magazine (the supplement that comes in many Sunday newspapers), I read this article, "Up Your Gratitude: Thank-You Notes Can Have Profound Effects." The author began the essay telling of how he penned a thank-you card to a Starbucks barista who had to work on Thanksgiving and how that woman nearly broke down, having felt that she mattered. The author went on to discuss his subsequent journey of thanking 365 people, and how it not only made a difference in the lives of the recipients but his as well.

Just a week before I read this article, I was thinking about how I can show my appreciation for people. The day after Christmas, when I went to get my oil changed and my car aligned, I decided to bring in a box of candy for the workers at Flynn's. I felt bad that they had to work the day after Christmas when so many others didn't. I think it meant something to them; certainly the guy I gave it to was extra friendly and chatty. And when I came back three weeks later to get tires replaced, the guy whom I gave the box  to share said, "Oh, you are the nice lady."

I think back to 2009 when I sent a thank-you note to the priest at the church where I have taught Bible school for the past three years (that year was my first), and how he called me up to thank me for my note. It had not occurred to me that someone would have been touched enough by a simple act of gratitude to then express his appreciation. It is probably because of that that I went on to thank various people in the next couple of years, including people at Jordan's previous school, the principal and teachers at Jordan's current school (where I also sub), some relatives who have supported my mom.

But I can do more.


So with my past experiences and that Parade article in mind, I have decided to take the author's advice, on a much smaller scale. Rather than send 365 thank-you notes, I am planning to send out a note twice a month. Although there are many people I could give my thanks to, it seems a little forced to me to find 365 of them in as many days (or even in two year's time).

If I can touch even a few people and perhaps cause some of them to pay it forward, I will consider this "experiment" a success.

Do you think I am nuts? Is it something you would consider doing?

Regardless, I am going to begin my journey this week. Stay tuned.

4 comments:

bluzdude said...

I think that's a lovely idea. We're all so caught up with what's going on in our little world that we forget how we zip in and out of other people's little worlds.

There's nothing wrong with making people smile unexpectedly.

chris h. said...

I love thank-you notes -- not just because they're good manners but because they're thoughtful and do just what you said -- make people feel appreciated. Awesome idea you have!

red pen mama said...

I am so overdue in my thank you note writing! Gah! Thanks for the reminder. ;)

Facie said...

I wrote the first one and still need to mail it. I felt kind of dorky doing it, but hopefully the recipient will appreciate it and not think I am nuts. Thanks for the support, everyone!