You want me to pick up a pen and do what?

People say the written word is a lost art.

And by written word, I mean pen to paper and handing it to someone directly or sending it through snail mail.

It’s rare to get mail that isn’t a bill or advertisement of some sort.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I got this thank you card in the mail today. It was from my 13-year-old nephew Micah. He not only thanked us for the money we gave to him, but he also said what he was saving it for and he also thanked us for coming to his party. Kudos to my brother and sister-in-law for teaching Micah how to craft a well-written thank you note.

Mind you, I wasn’t expecting one. I’m not the type of person who thinks I’m entitled to a handwritten thank you note for giving a gift. As long as I’m thanked in the present moment, it’s all good.

With that being said, when I do receive a handwritten note it means just a little more. And when I’ve written a note to someone else, I’m to the moon with a flood of warm feelings. I especially enjoy writing a note when the other person has no idea what is coming. That happened today. I wrote a note to a colleague who is transferring to another school. I wanted him to know how much I enjoyed working with him and how amazing I think he is in the classroom. When I handed it to him, he asked what it was. I just shrugged and said, “A little something.”

I don’t need him to tell me thank you, because that’s not why I wrote the note. I wrote it, because we all need to know more often than we may care to admit that someone sees the good we’re doing and appreciates it. As a society, we don’t do it often enough, because…wait for it…we’re SOOOOOO busy and DON’T have time. I say, “Blah, blah, blah.”

It takes us 3–5 minutes to write someone a note. The same amount of time you just took to scroll through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The same amount of time you spent channel surfing trying to find a TV show to watch (By the way, good luck with that one. I might have miscalculated the amount of time.). The same amount of time it took you to read an article on one of your favorite sites.

In that amount of time, you could have done something to make someone’s day. As weird as it might seem, there is some organization involved. So, here we go:

1. Go to a dollar store and buy an 8-pack of blank notes.
2. Keep those notes in a folder that travels with you so that you have them when the opportunity presents itself.
3. Start a list in the form of a T chart. On the left side write a person’s name and on the right side put why you would like to write him/her a note. Just write a quick phrase to remind you.
4. When writing a note, let the person know what you observe about him/her that you admire, why you appreciate him/her, and give specific examples whenever possible.
5. Make your note 3–5 sentences long and always make it positive from beginning to end.
6. Sign it. Don’t go all martyr or mysterious by not signing your note. Own it! You’re taking the time to provide the sentiment.
7. See what happens to YOU when you take the time to let others know how much you appreciate them. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s pretty amazing.

It’s time we do more than write texts, like Facebook posts, send Snapchats, or put our sentiment out in a 140-character tweet.

Get back to the written word. It’s time to get real again.

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