Proper etiquette is dead, and I think this is the perfect time of the year to talk about it. I’m not quite sure what happened through the generations, but somewhere along the way, children were not taught how to properly thank someone, and now the rudeness has just tumbled out of control.
When I was growing-up, from the time I could talk and write, I was taught that every gift, whether it was monetary or physical, was to be acknowledged with a phone call or a letter. And not a week after you got your gift and had already used it or spent it, but immediately upon receiving it.
I’m sure through the years my children have grown sick of me asking have they called so and so yet, regardless, I still find a round-about-way to do it. I was raised to believe, that my children’s behavior, respect or lack of, was a reflection of me and how I raised them. So I’m not sure if people today are lazy, or they simply just don’t care.
When both of my children graduated high school, neither of them could spend a dime of what they received, or use any gift that was given, until those thank you notes were written to each and every person that was kind of enough to think of them.
And those cards weren’t just written with sentences like “thank you for the money” or “thank you for the travel bag” – I taught them how to properly write a thank you note, with complete sentences, using descriptive words and adjectives. And I would proof-read the first few until I was sure they understood the complete purpose behind doing it in the first place.
When people spend their hard-earned money, you should show the utmost respect that someone not only took the time to do that, but that they thought enough of you to do it as well. Money truly does not grow on trees, not even $10 dollar bills; no matter the size of the gift, the gesture is the same, and so should be the appreciation.
I cannot tell you the gifts I have bought and delivered personally to weddings and baby showers that I never received a thank you note. And for the ones that were mailed, I guess I have never really known if they even received it. Granted, no one gives a gift with the only objective being that they’re told thank you, but people do give gifts to make people happy and to hopefully please them for one occasion/reason or another and they like to know their objective was achieved.
Parents – teach your children the art of gracious acceptance. Teach your children appreciation and gratitude, and most importantly, teach your children that they are not entitled just because it’s their birthday, graduation, or Christmas. They should feel honored that someone thought enough of them, cared enough about them to show them in the form of a present. Their only job is to say thank you or write a proper thank you note; that is all – and you’re welcome.