It’s an understatement to say that we’ve learned a thing or two from moms in our lifetime. Maybe it’s our own mother or someone else’s, either way, there are countless lessons these nurturing women have taught us over the years. While some may be long forgotten, others have been burned into our memories forever. Maybe they are silly and of no consequence like the way she taught you to make your bed. Or maybe it’s a piece of timeless advice on how to treat another with love and recognize their dignity. Possibly it’s somewhere in the middle.

Whichever life lesson or silly habits you attribute to your mom, thank God for their beautiful witness to love and constant dedication to their vocation of motherhood.

Among the plethora of wisdom and counsel my mom passed along to me, one thing stands out above all the rest. It’s a simple gesture that can change an entire perspective.

The simple thank you card 

That’s right…there weren’t too many things my mom was a stickler about growing up, but writing thank you cards was one of them. I remember it vividly and despised it unceasingly, wishing and hoping after every birthday or celebration where gifts were involved that my mom would get too caught up in “mom world” and forget to impose such a cruel punishment on me.

So many birthdays were followed with whining and avoidance of writing such dreaded notes of gratitude. I’m not sure if it was because she insisted that they were hand written or the fact that she would make me rewrite it over if each card didn’t have some sort of personal element to it.

I’m serious folks…she did this. A simple “thanks for coming to my party” could never pass in the world of an appropriate thank you note. 

Perhaps the utter loathing of this task stemmed from my presumption that no one cared or read them anyway. Although I have a sneaking’ suspicion that my own selfishness was to blame.

Either way, I hated writing thank you cards.

The woman who insisted that I write thank you notes... my Momma.

The woman who insisted that I write thank you notes… my Momma.

I recall one year successfully avoiding this cruel torture for eight months until mom finally remembered and more or less grounded me until I sat down one Saturday to write them.

Yes, that’s correct EIGHT MONTHS after my birthday I was writing thank you cards. Heck, in a mere four more months I would be celebrating my birthday again! Ugh, the tragedy of it all.

Turns out my mom was right

Now that I’m older (and hopefully a tad bit wiser), I’m beginning to see the significance that such a small gesture of gratitude can make. Not only does it encourage me to reflect and bask in how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life who want to love and shower me with gifts on occasion, it also reminds the gift-giver of the joy that comes from serving and loving another well.

Recognizing and admiring another for who they are and how they have honored you is a meaningful and simple way to reciprocate such charity.

So why don’t we make the effort to pen such sweet remarks of gratefulness anymore?

My mom

My mom instilling one last bit of wisdom before I walk down the isle… “don’t forget to tell the priest thank you!” 😉

Is is because our chaotic and hustling society has long done away with them, replacing a thoughtful, handwritten note with a text or Facebook message?

Or is it because we have become engrained with the false belief that we are so entitled to actually deserve such gifts, viewing them as rights rather than what they truly are…gifts freely given with no expectation of a payoff?

It’s probably due to a combination of reasons that such a practice as sending a thank you card is expiring in a world plagued by hurriedness.

While I’m not one to generally make a fuss about such trivial matters, this lost art seems to point toward a deeper desire of our human nature, one that we may have not initially considered.

Our hearts crave to be recognized.

We long to be seen and noticed in a deep and fundamental way. Our soul’s thirst for authentic relationships. So why wouldn’t we strive to honor that, even if in the simplest way? Perhaps the thoughtfulness of a hand-written note begins to satisfy a hunger we all crave.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually had several people in my adult life thank me for sending them a thank you card. Crazy, right? I’ve always been left dumbfounded by the irony that another would feel so compelled to thank me for their own generosity. On the flip side, this only demonstrates how rarely gratefulness is expressed.

With that said, I encourage us all to examine a little more closely our own spirit of gratitude. After all, I think we can agree that it can’t hurt for us to try and chip away at our own selfishness once in a while.

So why not start with a simple thank you? Others may experience a taste of authentic connection and jobs at Hallmark will be secured. That’s a win-win for everyone right?

What lessons have you learned from your mom? Have you ever gotten an amazing thank you note? Share in the comments below.