Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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.