Dear Dr. Laura,
Once your show, you asked a caller to "name three children who write thank you notes." I can name two: My children.
Thank you notes were very important in my house growing up and I actually enjoyed writing them. I have instilled this in my own children. I have always explained to them people want to be thanked for their gifts and they should never just expect presents. Many people also spend their precious time picking out gifts and being thankful for that is so very important.
I have come up against some criticism from my husband's family for this. My mother-in-law actually told me NOT to send thank you notes because as I was told, "we do not do that in our family". My response was she would continue to receive them because we do send thank you notes in our family. I did notice we started to receive thank you notes every once in awhile from my father-in-law and sometimes from nieces and nephews.
Regardless, the best lesson was learned when a co-worker offered their Yankee seats to my family one night as they were a season ticket holder and couldn't use them. I took the tickets because my daughter, about 8 at the time was a huge fan and had never been to a game. After the game I had her write a heartfelt thank you note. I had her tell the gentlemen what she loved about the stadium and how much going to the game meant to her. She wrote a beautiful note telling him about how she saw Alex Rodriguez, her favorite Yankee hit a homerun. She also drew an adorable picture. Off the note went. About two weeks later a package arrived for her. Inside was an autographed Alex Rodriquez picture and some candy and microwave popcorn for my daughter to eat while watching the upcoming playoff games. This man was so impressed by her letter he actually purchased the picture and then went to a game early to get the autograph for her and then framed it. My daughter really learned how much people like to be appreciated for what they do for others. Of course, another thank you note was quickly sent.
And I never have to ask her twice to send one to anyone.