Thursday, January 1, 2009
A Dying Art
The presents are all opened, played with, and lying throughout the house. It is a week after Christmas, but there is still one more task to complete: the writing of Thank You notes. My mom always impressed on us the importance of writing Thank You's as we grew up, and we would faithfully churn out the notes following Christmas and birthdays. I have noticed my siblings and I are among the shrinking minority of people who send out Thank You's. I feel that if someone has taken the time and effort to pick out and purchase a gift for you, the least you can do is write a short note expressing your appreciation. Where I have noticed this lack of manners most is in E's classmates. I can think of only a couple of friends who have sent thank-you's for presents after a birthday party. And this on top of the fact that they rarely open the gift in their guests' presence anymore (they save them for after the party) so there isn't even a vocal thank-you and expression of gratitude. I find this not only maddening, but downright rude. I can't understand parents who neglect to teach their children these things. Yes, it is a lot of trouble to get your small children to sit down and write, but even the littlest can scribble a picture next to a note that the parent writes. And then as they grow, they can add their name and eventually write the whole note themselves. As I set my kids down at the table yesterday and today, I reminded them of the joy the had when they received their presents, and the time that people took to pick those gifts out. I even threatened that if they failed to write a note, next year we would have to ask people not to give gifts to ungrateful children. That made them sit up a little straighter and turn their pencils and crayons earnestly to the job at hand! But to be honest, there wasn't much complaint because they have come to expect it. They just know that it is the right thing to do, and so they do it.
(and no, that tear on K's cheek isn't the result of me forcing a pen into her chubby toddler hand, but because I had made her wait to write on the envelope as N sealed it- see above picture)