Thank You Notes

Inside the small white envelope was a pretty little card with a bear and flowers on the front. When I opened it, a note written in a child’s handwriting read, “Thank you, Mrs. Landers, for the movie tickets. We’re going to watch Lizzie McGuire. I appreciate your letter. P.S. Thanks.” Signed Sami (with a flower over the I).

Inside the small white envelope was a pretty little card with a bear and flowers on the front. When I opened it, a note written in a child's handwriting read, 

It was a thank you note from a child I sent movie tickets for a story that we published of hers for a contest.

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When I finished the note, I thought about how wonderful it was that her mother was teaching her to write thank-you notes at such an early age.

Another young mother I met recently was trying to teach her child to say thank you when I gave him some stickers. He took the stickers and turned to walk away, and his mother called him back and reminded him to say thank you. He didn’t want to. I said it was OK, he didn’t have to say thank you. His mother looked at me firmly and said, “Yes, he does.” I understood and waited. The mother asked the child, “Are you glad she gave you the stickers?” The little boy said yes. The young mother said, “Then, you should say thank you.” He seemed to understand and looked up at me and said thank you.

I said, “You’re very welcome,” and watched his face change as he squared his shoulders and walked away.

I thought about the way his mother approached that moment by asking him if he was glad that he had received the gift. It made me check my own thankfulness.

Sometimes it may seem that we don’t have anything to be glad about.

When the pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving, things were not perfect for them. The winter before they arrived, they had lost more than half of their families from bad weather, hunger, and illness, and yet their grief did not make them bitter. They gave thanks for the life they had left.

Inside the small white envelope was a pretty little card with a bear and flowers on the front. When I opened it, a note written in a child's handwriting read, 

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They were thankful for their food, even though their rations were meager. Today we have plenty. Even homeless people can receive food if they take advantage of the many organizations that want to help them. We are living in a time where the overconsumption of food is crippling lives with illnesses while people in other countries are thankful for a bowl of rice for the day.

The Pilgrims were thankful for peace. They were fleeing religious persecution and felt blessed to be on good terms with the Native Americans. It is true our country has problems. Sometimes when I go home to my quiet life, I think about how safe I am and I know I am blessed.

The Pilgrims were so thankful for the small amount they had, that they were willing to share it with their potential enemies, the Indians. This was not a shrewd political maneuver ? it was an honest expression of being thankful for what God had given.

On Thanksgiving day, many families will gather around a table filled with delicious food and share with each other what they are thankful for.

Our family has a special tradition of giving thanks before we begin our meal. Before the turkey is carved or the rolls are buttered, we take three small kernels of corn that have been placed in our empty plates and share three things that have happened during the year that we are most thankful for.

Inside the small white envelope was a pretty little card with a bear and flowers on the front. When I opened it, a note written in a child's handwriting read, 

As youngsters our children recited thanks for our family, friends, their schools, food, the birds, the deer, the toys and even the snow.

When they were teenagers, they were a little more reserved with their gratitude. They thought the corn thing was really corny and recited their three thanks as quickly as possible.

Now that they are grown and have families of their own, they are more aware of how blessed they are.

It is fun to watch them wince at the things their children say.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with our friends and family and share what we are so thankful for, but having a thankful heart the other 364 days of the year will make our lives peaceful.

Children don't realize all they have to be grateful for yet and they don't realize the peace and benefits of a grateful heart. That is why it is so important to start when they can understand, like a simple thank you note.

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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

Deana Landers has had many roles in life — Pastor’s Wife , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer and Motivational Speaker ... more