Like hitting your head on the brick wall, it’s great when you stop. It’s a blessed and sunny day and it’s a great day not for walking.
We stay once again with kind and indulgent friends: we get up late and drive slowly home. We calculate how many thank you letters we will be delighted to write to so many kind people who have put themselves out for us.
But is saying “thank you” now a rarity?
Our two younger hosts told us that when they had eight friends of their eldest daughter to stay for a weekend – all under seventeen – and worked hard to give them a good time (preparing meals, making beds, more washing up, the cost, you now what it all entails), not a single one of them wrote to thank their hosts, not a single call, not an email, just nothing. Other friends tell us that when they had a big wedding for their daughter, at least ten people failed to show and not a word of apology afterwards. Others tell me that that many gifts to his and her relatives go “un thanked”.
When I was a little boy the need for “thank you” letters and saying: “Thank you for having me”, was drilled into me. I suspect most of my generation were awarded the same treatment.
We recently had a party for Jane’s birthday; about fifty of our greatest friends came; around fifty warm and appreciative thank you letters awaited us when we got home today. It’s not that we asked our friends to supper so they would say “thank you”, of course not, but these letters are a loving response to an act of hospitality; saying “thanks” makes the cold world a little bit warmer, a touch less hostile and more friendly: expressing gratitude for dinners, overnight stays and birthday presents is a gentle and courteous thing to do and it makes the world a little less lonely too.
I’ll bet that all ZANE donors are “of an age” and we were all taught to “thanks”. I’ll bet you are also rather shocked at the casual brutality of today’s ungracious young who seem to take kindness, gifts and hospitality for granted.
Have today’s parents stopped teaching their children manners?
It’s great to be back home.