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Did you say thanks?

Did you say thanks?

Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 8:02 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

Dear Lisa,
What has happened to the tradition of saying thank you? I was taught to always write thank-you notes and I am attempting to pass this practice on to my own children. Now, however, I am finding that people are not only failing to write notes or send emails, they are not even saying thank you at all!
Over the years, I have given tens of gifts that I have never been thanked for. I continue to give them because I do want to share. I hope that my sharing will be seen as an act of kindness but it is discouraging to never receive acknowledgement for that kindness.
Lisa, am I old-fashioned in my view? Am I being selfish in wanting a thank you? Or are we all getting lazy and missing out on an important social grace that doesn’t need to be lost even in this hectic and fast-paced world?
 Wishing to be Thanked in TN

Dear Wishing to be Thanked,
Your letter caused me to think deeply. Thank you for that as I tend to spend most of my time thinking in the shallow end of the pool.
I understand your concern. Most people don’t send thank-you notes. Few people RSVP to invitations sent in the mail. Don’t even get me started about your Uncle Charlie’s cell phone singing the Alabama fight song during Aunt Margaret’s funeral last spring. And no, it wasn’t a good idea for Cousin George to wear shorts to his sister’s graduation ceremony either. It wasn’t a good idea last year. It’s not a good idea this year. It will never be a good idea to play the Alabama fight song on a cell phone during a funeral or wear shorts to a graduation ceremony. Egads! We are becoming a culture of misfits, yes?
I’m writing this column from the Starbucks at the San Antonio airport and I just saw a woman set all her bags down on the table and chairs next to her table. People are searching desperately for a seat and ONE woman is taking up two entire tables. I have no category for this behavior. Either she is oblivious to the human beings around her or she simply doesn’t care about said human beings. Disturbing either way.  
However, I’m afraid your letter also brought up some regrets in my own life. I’m no longer a very good note writer. I haven’t taught my boys to write notes. I hope I have taught them to verbally thank people, but I’m sure they’ve stiffed people in that arena as well. In fact, let me just say publicly that my family appreciates anything any of you in the reading audience has ever done for us. I know. It’s not the same, is it? Your letter has made me resolve to live a life of appreciation, friend. For that, I am grateful to you. I have a feeling we all needed a reminder to be more appreciative.
I hope you will keep giving gifts and sharing your blessings with others. I hope you will forgive all the ones who are not gracious. Please don’t lose your joy or throw in the towel. Show the rest of us the benefits of your hospitable behavior. We need you, friend. The culture around us is becoming frightfully self-centered. Your acts of kindness might help turn the tide.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 11.2.11


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