Thanks, but no thanks

Laura K. Silver

By Laura Klearman Silver

I’m not really sure which is worse–no thank you note or a thank you note so poorly written that it is tacked up on a wall as an example to my kids of what not to do.

I recently received a note from the child of a friend who lives out of town. The note was delivered several months after the gift and read as follows:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Silver (the child normally calls us by our first names)

Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

Thank you for the gift.


Friend’s child


I said nothing as I put it into my husband’s nightstand for his review. When he came home from work, he took a look at it. “Would no note have been better?” he asked.

In a way, yes. At least with no note, there was the possibility that it got lost in the mail or that I accidentally discarded it on my own. But to receive a note like this? It might as well have read,

“Dear Friends of my Parents,

I have no interest in writing you but my parents are making me. I can’t remember what you got me but apparently you got me something or I wouldn’t have to write this to you.

Guess I’ll go now,

Friends’s Child”

A child should be able to write a decent thank you note without too much supervision by age 10, probably even earlier. After that, they should be on their own and capable of doing a respectable job. If they can’t, should they be required to send a note if it’s going to look like that? Is this a reflection on the parents or the kids? As parents, should we really have to monitor thank you notes from teenagers? I’m just not sure.

Weigh in–I want to hear what you think.