Writing Thank You Notes

Writing Thank You Notes

by Susan Neuhalfen

With the onset of computers, email and social media, writing thank you notes (especially handwritten ones) has become a somewhat obsolete act.   Yet many of us have been touched by thank you notes and have even kept some.  It seems that people don’t take the time to write or say a heartfelt thank you anymore.  Imagine that for one day thank you notes could magically be delivered to anyone, past or present, famous or not. To whom would you write a note and what would you say?

When this question was posed to an informal poll, 97% chose to thank a teacher. Others mentioned relatives and some famous people in history. Here are a few that were mentioned:

Dear Teacher,
Thank you for seeing me in a way that I didn’t see myself.  You have so many in your classroom and yet you are always able to pick out the special attributes that each student has and teach students to capitalize on their strengths while challenging their weaknesses.  There were times when I didn’t like you, there were times when I wanted to quit, but you didn’t let me.  You pushed me to the edge…and I flew.  You knew I could fly the whole time, didn’t you?

Dear Dad,
Thank you for leading by example.  So many people just use their words to lead, you were a man of few words but your actions spoke volumes.  You always did the right thing.  You taught me that the right thing is not necessarily the best thing for the situation and it’s definitely never the easiest. Everything to you was right or wrong and you never made a decision without thinking it through logically and morally. My only regret is that I didn’t listen to you sooner.

Dear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Thank you teaching me to stand up for what is right without resorting to what is wrong.  You showed me that sometimes conflict is necessary, but that it may be done peacefully and in a mature manner.  Most of all, thank you for teaching me that skin color is just melanin and people all deserve the same basic human rights and dreams.

Dear Police Officer,
The truth is, you go to work every day and perform a duty I would never want to do.  You see the worst of so much of our society and then you’re expected not to be affected by what you’ve witnessed.  You’re never off duty, are you?  You take the chair at the restaurant that faces the door.  While the kids are playing soccer you scan the fields for any sign of predators.  While everyone else is running away from trouble, you’re running toward it.  You never stop protecting and serving us.  Thank you for keeping us safe.

Dear Work Bully,
Thank you for helping me to learn from my biggest career mistake – befriending you.  I thought if I could get along with you, you wouldn’t go after me the way you had every other woman in the office that you deemed a threat. Because of our time together I will never compromise who I am as a person or co-worker just to appease someone like you.  I’m better than that.
p.s. Congratulations on never growing and continuing to do the same old dead end job.  You’re still the queen of all you survey.

Dear Marie Curie,
Thank you for paving the way for women in science.  In addition to being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, you remain the only person to have won the Nobel Prize twice in multiple sciences. You continue to save lives even today through medical research facilities that you established. Your inspiration changed women’s roles in science worldwide and from you women learned that a woman’s place is anywhere she wants it to be.

Dear Abraham Lincoln,
You led our country at time when division seemed imminent but you were determined to keep us together.  You worried little about popularity and more about doing what was right for the United States and its people. Thank you for your leadership.  Thank you for your powerful words that still ring true today.  Most of all thank you for putting our nation first.


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