It used to be, when someone sent you a parcel or did you a favour, you would immediately write them a letter to say thank you. It was an essential form of communication, pre-internet. And a phone call? Considered much too informal in many households.
No, the proper way to thank someone took a little more effort than picking up the phone. You may have pulled out the good stationery, your best ballpoint pen, and sat in your chosen place for completing such correspondence.
You would take the time to lovingly print out the address (which you would find in your trusty, handwritten address book) and you would walk your letter of thanks to the local post office.
It was quite a to-do, and a practice that would take time, organization and most of all, thoughtfulness.
But it’s fair commentary to suggest that the art of writing out and sending off our gratitude via the postman has been lost almost entirely.
There are much more efficient ways to be thankful these days. We can fax a letter, email or text a “thnx” or simply click the ‘like’ button on Facebook when someone offers to lend a hand.
Efficient, yes. But meaningful? Hardly.
That’s why Tuesday night’s show of thanks by the Agassiz Scouts, to the District of Kent, deserves a round of applause. Those boys sat politely through an entire council meeting without disturbing a soul, which is something many adults can’t say they’ve ever done. They learned a little bit about politics, and will be better for it.
And most importantly, perhaps, they proved that the art of thanking someone properly — and the actual act of being thankful — could possibly live on in future generations.
So, why is this even important? Because the time devoted to being thankful isn’t time wasted. It’s time spent reflecting on the good, rather than the bad. It’s time spent ensuring that no good deed goes unnoticed.
And when children are shown the importance of active gratitude, well, that’s time away from the cell phone, the computer and video games.
It’s time spent wisely. And you can’t put a price tag on that.
(See related story)