I’d like to think most of us give thanks in different ways everyday of our lives. Maybe it’s grace before meals, thanking a stranger for holding the grocery store door, or appreciating a family member who supported you in a conflict. But how often do we actually write down these thoughts and send them to the people who are least expecting to hear from us? Not that often. Here are some exceptions.
John Kralik was a single, unhappy lawyer with a firm going down the tube when he unknowingly put a spin on his life by writing thank you notes to the people who touched his daily life. From his haircutter to the barista gal at Starbucks, he reached out to people through short, handwritten notes of gratitude. This effort changed not only him but also had a meaningful impact on those he was thanking.
In his book, A Simple Act of Gratitude (also titled 365 Thank You’s), John looks at the gift of writing Thank You’s and how it turned his life around; an action which didn’t take a ton of work but produced powerful results. You can get a sense of his motivation through this CBS story.:
Giving thanks through a handwritten note became a daily practice for Leah Dieterich in 2009. Most days Leah worried about the future, ignoring her present day surroundings. Once she began writing daily thank you’s she found gratefulness in everyday life.
Thanks to her mother’s motivation, Leah got into the habit of writing a thank you note everyday, be it for the birds out her window or a relationship which went sour. Her notes developed into a daily website thx thx thx where she shares her writings (which then became a book as these things do). She now finds hope in all things surrounding her.
Yes, yes, this all might sound a bit too forced and pollyannaish for some of you. So before you click out of brown ink, check out one of the Kings of Comedy, Jimmy Fallon.
I can never stay up late enough to watch Fallon so I picked up his coffee table book. To sample a few…”Thank you expression ‘with all due respect’ for letting me know when people are about to say something with zero respect.” or “Thank you Febreeze, for allowing dirt and filth to live freely among us in total secrecy.” or “Thank you ‘People You May Know’ feature on Facebook, for never introducing me to a single person that I actually want to know, ever. More accurately, your title should be ‘People I Do Know but Am Avoiding.’ Thanks.” You get the gist. It’s a bit cheeky but at least he’s writing!
My sincere hope is to notice moments that remind me of the simple fortunes that surround me, especially the little ones I didn’t ask for or see coming. The other day our sons were playing outside with a gem of a neighborhood girl. She’s three years older than Emmett but he would consider her his best playmate aside from Ollie. It would take me three minutes to send her parents a note mentioning what a positive influence their daughter has on our boys lives. And so I will. And we hope you do the same.