This past week we received a thank you note in the mail. It made us both feel over the moon happy. The letter was written in pencil, on three hole punch, regular, note-book paper. The penmanship was clear and perfectly lettered. The person who wrote the letter was a pre-teen that until last Saturday morning, we had never before met. Yes, we appreciate receiving a thank you note. However, how the boy signed the letter and the p.s. was the section that got my mind to swirling.
It was signed, Your Friend, Steven.
Yes indeed, we all want a friend or two. As adults we think you have to “build a relationship”, work at the little things, act the right way. With children, they just automatically decide you are their friend. Up and until the time when something hurtful or crummy happens, you are their friend. No judgement, no questions asked, young or old, baggage or not, tall or smart, money or poor, they have decided you are a friend.
The only thing that a child asks is “Hope you write back”. That is the way they want this simplistic relationship to work. We dropped off some items at his home. He wrote a letter. Now he would like for us to write him a letter. He would like us to be in his circle of friendship. It is straightforward and simple.
We always say, we don’t do something to “get” a thank you. However, what we would like to tell the people in our lives is simply this: I did not do something or give you something for a thank you note, however, I would appreciate it if you “write back”. We want to have some type of communication. We want to build a bigger circle of friends. We want the circle to continually get bigger and bigger. We would love to get a letter ( or an email or a phone call or even a text message in return). We want to feel of value in your life.
No doubt about it, yes, it is very good manners to write a thank you note. Our new friend has parents who believe in teaching their children the lesson of gratitude. I have a very strong feeling that he will live a life of gratitude. His parents are instilling in him good manners. He shook hands with us when we met him. He looked us in the eyes while speaking. He was polite and followed up with a thank you note. Sure he might waver slightly while having fun in those college years, my guess is, being grateful will be apart of who he is as well as who he will be. He will have a full life filled with friends. He is learning to be one.
Steven is a gentle reminder in my life to “write back”. He has reminded me to restore my efforts. I want to have good people in my life, they make me behave and act better. I want to recognize them and be apart of the fabric of their lives, somehow it elevates us both. Not just writing a proper thank you note. I want to write heartfelt notes and letters full of grace and gratitude towards my friends. That means friends of many moons as well as brand new friends. By offering a gift, a loaf of bread, a simple card of sympathy or note of get well wishes, I am not only offering my gifts, but I am offering friendship. By my actions, I am saying I hope you will follow through and be my friend as well.
“Frienship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.” ~a. dumas