Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Manners.

I recently received a thank-you note in the mail.  A hand-written thank-you note, thank you very much!  Okay, hand-written is a stretch.  It is more hand-drawn.  And it is from my favorite 3-year-old, Zuzu.  She is the older sister of Ramona, who now has three of my Shush Bunnies and is their biggest fan.  Zuzu was rather crestfallen when she did not find a pink Shush Bunny with her name on it.  So, I sent her one.  And she, in turn, sent me a thank-you note.

Zuzu's mother, Julie,  (an earlier link didn't work - so I've re-linked to her blog.  She's amazing.) always sends me a thank-you note on a creative card for any small thing I do.  Her mother, Sylvie, is also as thoughtful.   Seeing a pattern?  My friend, Maggie, also sends a lovely note of thanks, sometimes for no special reason.  Her daugher sent me a thank you note for her wedding present before the wedding!  My mother always insisted that we send thank-you notes for any gift or thoughtful gesture of which we were the recipients.  I will admit that I've become rather, er, loosey-goosey about the promptness of my thank-yous.  I see now why she insisted that we sit down the same day we received the gift to write our notes, even on Christmas.  This seems especially important now that I tend to forget my name by mid-morning.

I did not, unfortunately, have children upon which I could pass down this morsel of good manners.  My youngest sister's son was diligent about thanking me for any and every thing I sent or did.  Until he hit college age, that is, and got sucked into the whirlwind of social activities, studies, etc. that goes with it.  That is fine, as my cut-off date in birthday present giving is 21.  My other nephew and niece rarely, if ever, acknowledged a gift.  And that is not because my sister did not try to impress upon them the importance of the act.  Needless to say, after no acknowledgements, no gifts were forthcoming.

I realize I come from a different point in time.  I am from the time before computers, cell phones, email, and instant gratification.  (Geez.  Also before fax machines, microwaves -- BUT waaay after the Ice Age, in my own defense.)  Having good manners made communicating with strangers easier for a shy kid.  People were kinder.  And then there is the matter of the written communication.  And I am not talking email.  When you take the time to sit down with pen and paper, your thoughts are more, well, polished.  You don't run the risk of firing off something in haste - or in anger - then hitting the send button without stopping to consider what you've written.  When you actually have to write it, word by word, it gives you time to think about the person, what you are feeling, and puts a virtual deep breath between writing something potentially hurtful and actually sending it.

Good manners = kindness = compassion = a very good thing.


  1. Well said. It is indeed a dying tradition, and I hate to see it go. It really makes my day to get a note in the mail. I even got one once from a new friend---thanking me for meeting her. How lovely.
    Well, if I could I'd send you a thank you for all your posts, but I guess this comment section will have to do!

  2. I agree, what happened to the thank you notes. Or even call someone on the phone to personally thank them. I gave a graduation gift to a friends daughter and she texted me a generic thank you. I thought that was awful, a TEXT? Ah but it is the way of the world these days I guess. Even my dogs give me a tail wag of thanks for a cookie.

  3. Yup, these computers and technology sure make some things nice but we do lose the sincertiy at times when a Thank You is needed. But like you said, some people just don't get it at all. Where did good manners go? We want them back.

  4. When our daughter was at a point where she was still hoping to have kids, she said one of the most important things she felt it was her duty to do for a child was to teach him/her good, old-fashioned manners. When did this stop being a natural/fundamental part of raising a child?

  5. That note is really special! I can't get past the names Zuzu and Ramona - those have got to be the best 2 names I have ever heard of, creative and cute without being "too creative" like some people are with names (LOL). I LOVE those names!!!

  6. Sue - When I see an envelope in the mailbox with an actual stamp, I get all giddy! I NEVER could do without your comments! They keep me going!

    Jane - Yep, a text or an email thanks is just not cutting it. The "way things are" or not. Dogs are great thankers, aren't they?

    APG - I think the bringing back of good manners would have an amazing impact on general civility towards each other - we seem to have lost that, too. Well, not "us" we, if you know what I mean.

    Mama Pea - I guess when people got too busy to sit down and spend time with their children.

    Erin - Zuzu is short for Zuzanna - a lovely Czech name. I re-linked to Julie's blog - she is so amazing. I am relieved her children aren't named after fruit or something. They all have names they can grow into!

  7. Never fear; this old-fashioned (well, and just plain old) mom is making her nine-year-old son write thank-you notes for everything, too. I doubt he'll continue after he leaves home (his father doesn't write them), but at least he'll have no excuse for his bad manners then.

  8. Writing the thank-you notes does follow down the generations. My kids make the grandchildren write (draw) the thank-yous. The parents have to take the time in the beginning to teach them. Great post!(love the names of the kids too!)

  9. Michelle - Well, thank goodness for moms like you! You never know - it might stick with him!

    Dr Momi - Another great mom heard from! Things are looking up!

  10. All of my girls wrote thank-you's and still do. I try to give little thank-you's just because... a jar of jam or jelly for the shearer, some produce from the garden for the neighbor who locked the chickens up for me, etc. Today, we went to see the new boar that the lady we buy our pigs from and Lyndsey (with help from me) made her 8 cloth napkins out of a material that had a pig pattern on it for a thank-you for her years of advice, friendship and piggies. I love giving heart-felt thank-you! And receiving them too.

  11. Well written post. Good manners and common sense are two of the most valuable things our society lost along the way.

  12. Ruth - That is so thoughtful! Sounds like Lyndsey is a chip of the "good mom" block. I think that loving to receive them gives you the impetus to write them!

    Leigh - Too true. And I am getting to be beyond hope that they will reappear.