Sending "thank you" notes was a requirement in our household as a child. No sooner had the last person left from our birthday party and mother had sheets of paper and a fountain pen before us on the kitchen table. If we were the "birthday girl" or "birthday boy" we knew what was expected of us at the table: write the thank you notes right then and there for all the lovely presents we were given...don't even think about playing with the newly unwrapped Twister game or GI Joe sitting there waiting for us to play! Write first, then play...Those were the rules. "Thank yous" first. "Thank yous" always.
What good is being grateful if you don't say it out loud? What good is feeling love, tenderness, kindness, in fact, ANY warm emotions if you don't express them?!
There is nothing that melts the heart quicker than a heartfelt "thank you". So why would we ever withhold it? It is better to be vocal (and quick) with our gratitude. Mother also reminded us that it was better to be more grateful than not grateful enough.
True confessions as I age: I find myself thinking more often these days, "did I tell so-and-so thank you for such-and-such?" It's an awkward question and feeling. In fact, that dread has become so common that I intentionally say thank you MORE often, so that the probability of my forgetting to say "thank you" is drastically reduced. That's how powerful my mother is sitting on my shoulder. Don't laugh! Your mother, grandmother or great aunt is sitting on your shoulder too and whispering, "hey, did you...?"
Honestly though, we don't need our parents' reminders for these blessed gestures of kindness and gratitude. It is far greater to give than to receive. We know this. The act of saying or writing "thank you" is a gift itself. Therefore, we should be generous and free with our "thank yous", since they cost so little and give so much. They are, in fact, the two best words ever--thank you!
I'm off to my Crane stationery stash! And you?