Is it time to resurrect the dying art of the “thank you card?”

Yesterday, as we were in the back packing up for home, I noticed one of our students handing out cards to some of the children in the class. I didn’t remember seeing him make any at school, so I was curious what he was doing. I asked. “I’m giving out my thank you cards. I forgot them yesterday.” Wow! In 18 years of teaching — teaching all grades from kindergarten to Grade 6 — I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen anybody make and hand out “thank you cards” after a birthday party before.

I had to take a closer look. He had printed all of the names on the envelopes, and read each one as he handed them out to his friends. One child opened the card. Inside, it looks like he worked with his parents to write a special message to each child: thanking him/her for coming to the party and bringing a gift. Then he signed the card before putting it in the envelope. For one of the youngest students in our class, I have no doubt that this was a challenging task that took a lot of time, effort, and focus. What wonderful lessons he learned here though …

  • about the value in saying “thank you,”
  • about the value in acknowledging others,
  • and about taking the time to do something for someone else.

I happened to be in the classroom yesterday evening when this little boy’s mother picked him up from the After Care Program. I mentioned how much I loved the thank you cards. She said, “I know they’re very old-fashioned…” I hadn’t really considered this. My parents always raised us to thank others for presents. I remember calling my grandparents to thank them for holiday gifts, writing a note of thanks to others, and even now, sending an email to thank people. It was how I was raised, and these “thank you’s” mean a lot to me. In fact, I often struggle when people do not say thanks. A thank you seems to be a dying art.

  • I think it needs to be genuine.
  • I think it needs to be specific.
  • I think it needs to involve some effort on the sender’s part.

I often hear comment such as, “Kids these days don’t have the same manners as people had in the past. They are so disrespectful.” Does instilling these manners start with us though? Do we need to teach them the importance of saying thank you, and taking the time to acknowledge people who did something for us? I think about this child as he grows up. Will the time that his parents spent writing these first thank you cards with him, transfer to him choosing to do so on his own? Will this be a value that he then instills in his children one day? I’d like to think so. What about you? Even as educators, are we showing kids the value in these kind words? For all the time that we spend on academic areas, I think that we also need to find these meaningful ways to thank those that do something for us. I wonder if something as simple as this might change some impressions of “kids today.”


2 thoughts on “Is it time to resurrect the dying art of the “thank you card?”

    • Thanks Jill! I totally think this is part of the Belonging and Contributing Frame. While I didn’t mention it in the post, this was actually something that Paula and I discussed after seeing this yesterday. A wonderful point and connection to the Kindergarten Document.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *