Cyndi's Two Cents

Be the one who sends the thank you letter


Thank you.

How much effort does it take to write or say those two little words? Apparently quite a bit, as it happens too infrequently.

Most of us learned at an early age the importance of good manners and that saying “please” and “thank you” are a big part of good manners. Everyone around us used them and meant them, so this behavior was reinforced in us by the example of others.

Sadly, appreciation and respect for others is missing in action in much of society today. You might think I am pointing to those much younger than me, but that is not the case. People of all ages seem to have simply forgotten basic manners or have chosen to ignore a code of behavior that is socially respectful.

Farm Credit of the Virginias has an impressive section with livestock resources for youth on their website. It includes a guide for young people showing livestock, judging livestock, recordkeeping for a livestock project, and how to market your livestock. It includes an excellent guide for writing a thank you letter. Although the section is focused on youth with livestock, the letter guide is applicable in other situations.

The guide explains why you should write a thank you letter:

  • To give buyers recognition for their support of the program
  • To thank them for their support of your project
  • To show you care and are willing to go the extra mile.
  • To make a connection even after the show ring

It then walks you through every step of writing the letter. It suggests making the greeting respectful and personalized and hand signing the letter. It suggests using nice stationery or a notecard, using your best handwriting and proofreading for spelling errors, then mailing or hand delivering in a timely manner.

It is not that difficult or time consuming to send a thank you note. If, for some reason, you are incapable of doing so, at the very least, say thank you in person to the giver of the gift.

Several times in recent years I have heard people complain about the awards they received for doing well in competition at a county or state fair. Quite often these are donated by individuals or small businesses. Those trophies, plaques, and gifts are often in addition to premium dollars and ribbons awarded for placing in a show.

Have we become so very selfish as a society that being appreciative for receipt of a gift from a friend or stranger does not warrant a simple thank you? Are we raising children so overindulged and ill-mannered that they are comfortable displaying ungracious behavior and making ungrateful comments publicly?

While we are teaching youth in agriculture how to manage feed rations, shear a sheep, or build fence, let us not forget the importance of soft skills, Etiquette and ethics, character, social skills, and communications are invaluable qualities in the world today.

Sending a simple thank you letter is not only the right thing to do; it sets you apart from those who do not send one. Be remembered as the one who wrote the letter, not as the one who did not.

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