NPR interviewed John Kralik this week. He has written a book with a rather unusual twist. He was struck last year with the impersonality of receiving a gift and decided to write a Thank You note every day for a year. In his interview he stated that the idea came from a tradition his grandfather started, encouraging him and his siblings to express their thanks in writing. To reward them he would give them a silver dollar. And if they wrote a thank you note for the dollar he would give them another. Seemingly Mr. Kralik lost interest when that incentive disappeared.
The first week or so went famously. In fact his son, receiving a note, called him to invite him to lunch and while at lunch repaid him $1,000, a loan that had long been forgotten. But after a while he ran out of people or occasions to thank, and discovered what would be the nucleus of the book, expressing thanks for little things.
Like the Barista at Starbucks remembering his name and his regular order. And eventually his daughter, mostly for being there when he needed someone to love. The book “365 Thank Yous” is available at Amazon, where shortly I hope you will also find my book “Harnessing a Heritage”.
My wife writes Thank You Notes and well remembers those who write one to her. Each one is handwritten, specific to the event or gift, and in a style that would make her mother proud. My mother also taught me to write Thank You Notes, but I must confess I rarely do anymore and mostly have fallen into the habit of using Blue Mountain or some other computerized format.
Mr. Kralik subtitles his book “The Year a Simple Act of Gratitude Changed My Life.” That may be a little grandiose for me, but it is inspirational to remember everyday actions that have a special effect.
Several years ago, Mary and I attended a Leadership Conference where the Keynoter stressed that we should give at least one “TahDah” a day. Her point was that unless people receive acknowledgement that they do everyday acts in a special way, they fall into mediocrity. Since that time we probably give a collective or individual “TahDah” several times a week: Fix that plumbing problem instead of just bringing attention to it? TahDah! Remembering that someone couldn’t find that pastry warming mitten and finding it? TahDah! Fix the leaning Christmas tree when we were just going to live with the list (#2 son), TahDah! Offer to carry the suitcases up from the car (#1 son), TahDah!
I don’t think I will write a Thank You Note every day in 2011, but I can commit to increasing the frequency of “TahDah”s beyond my family. Do you have a “TahDah” tradition?