Tag Archives: thank you notes

Announcement, announcement!

Memorial Day is behind us. White shoes are out of storage, and the celebratory time flanked by this holiday and the next one is upon us. Judging from the fast-rising stack of mail before us, it must be graduation season.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share a few observations.

Observation #1:  Perhaps my son is right when he says that I am the strictest parent on the planet because, based on every graduation announcement that has come into our house over the last 10 years, my son is the only high school graduate to have addressed his own announcements. My husband and I insisted on it. While we chose not to send announcements when he graduated from college, I am always struck by how many parents address their children’s college graduation announcements, 100 percent, as best I can tell.

Observation #2:  Some people choose to ignore the graduation announcements they receive altogether, though about half send announcements when their children reach graduation age. Personally, receiving these requires a great deal of maturity and restraint on my part. But I send a gift nonetheless. Restraint is equally needed when one receives an announcement for a child one has met only once, or not at all.

Observation #3:  The generosity of those who do send best regards is overwhelming.

Observation #4:  Most graduates send thoughtful thank you notes. Others either send none at all or simply sign a form letter written and typed by their parents.

Observation #5:  A well written thank you note is worth keeping. We can almost predict a graduate’s potential success based on his or her thank you note.

When I receive a thank you note of any kind, I read it once or twice, enjoy it and then throw it away. We received one last year—for a high school graduation gift we sent—that was too good to discard. I kept it in a stack of papers I go through from time to time, just so I can re-read it. It provides heart-warming proof that young people can write thoughtfully and well. Because I like to share good writing on this blog, I’ll share it here:

“Thank you for your card and money for my graduation.  It’s a big step in my life, and I’m glad you took the time to write me a note of congratulation. I’m going to try my hardest to be the best computer engineer at Virginia Tech I can, and am thankful to know my family is close behind me, hopeful for my success. Thank you!”

Parents, I respectfully suggest that you share this with your kids. And for Pete’s sake, consider having them address their own graduation announcements. At a minimum, take a cut of the proceeds for your efforts.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends, Holidays, Rants and Raves

Curse of writing

It was disheartening for me to read recently in the New York Times that cursive writing is fading away, as it is practiced less and emphasized less in schools.

You may be thinking that cursive wasn’t of any use to begin with, that your handwriting has declined and that you never use it any more. I really hope that’s not the case.

We all use computers, there’s no argument there. We rely on our typing and keyboarding skills to do our work and communicate with our friends. Still, there is plenty of room—and utility—for cursive.

I’m a big fan of the handwritten thank you note and the sympathy card. Those occasions call for personal comments written in our own handwriting, which is as much a part of us as our personalities.

Not printing. Printing is for filling out forms and making signs. It might be for writing out a Christmas gift tag or recipes. Printing is not for writing letters. The Post Office may disagree, but printing is also not for addressing envelopes into which we place personal correspondence. Written in ink, thankyouverymuch.

We all know people who print personal notes and, I know, I know, it’s better to have a printed note than none at all. I have one friend who is great at sending hand-written notes, always timely and thoughtful. But hers are not only printed, but printed in all caps—just like she talks.

Here’s the well kept secret. Cursive writing allows us to write faster and more efficiently because, but for dotting an “i” or crossing a “t,” we needn’t lift pen from paper and plunk it back down again. Just think how much energy we waste bobbing that pen up and down when we print. Cursive allows the hand to move in steady, rhythmic motions, like waves in the sea.

You say your cursive is illegible? I’ve got a reasonable amount of sympathy if you have arthritis or another debilitating condition. Consider this: cursive demands fewer movements and a more relaxed hand than printing. An NYT commenter points out that practicing our cursive is one way to preserve our fine motor abilities.

If your hand is still relatively young and able, though, I dare say you’d benefit from a bit of practice. It’s worth it.

As a child, learning cursive was one of the most intimidating things I learned to do. I remember at the beginning of second grade, looking up at the banner that spanned the top of classroom’s front wall and trying to figure out what it all meant. Why a capital Q was formed like the number 2. How the creators of cursive got from a block letter to its swirly cousin. I doubted that I’d ever master it. I struggled. I got D’s in handwriting. I worked at it and finally got it right. Where I went to school, we were given no choice. But, oh, how rewarding to have gained this important skill. I still think it’s the most valuable thing I learned in Catholic school.

Yep; etiquette and utility. Two good reasons to save this dying art by keeping up our practice.

Who’s with me (she says, anticipating resistance)?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Technology and Social Media