Recently I had a couple of conversations with friends on separate occasions when we talked about incivility in people who do not acknowledge gifts.
One friend said she once sent her elementary age daughter to school with a gift card for her teacher during the holiday. She never received a thank-you note. She always wondered whether the teacher actually received the gift card. She said as a teacher herself, she always acknowledged gifts from her students.
Another friend gave money and flower at a funeral service, but never received any acknowledgement.
I have had similar experiences of my own.
In the last couple of years, I can remember four instances when I gave $100 or more in cash or check to individuals (not my families or relatives, but people I know somewhat or strangers I read about in the papers) for various reasons, mostly in tragic circumstances, but I never received a personal acknowledgement or thank-you from the receivers.
Like my friend, I always wonder why people don’t acknowledge gifts. And sometime I wonder about whether my gifts were received which I shouldn’t. Checks were cashed, cash gifts were given in person directly or indirectly.
If I were Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, I wouldn’t care if my little donation was acknowledged or not. It’s like pennies for them. But for me earning a librarian’s salary, which is low on the overall pay scale in comparison to other sectors, I have to make conscious choices and some personal sacrifices.
I live below my means. I am stingy with my own kids and say way more “no” to their needs and wants than I probably should. In fact, I am known among my families, friends and coworkers for being very frugal and cheap, and I get criticized often.
I am frugal and cheap, because I am content with what I have in life. I do not need more, better and bigger things to make me happy. I am happy with what little or less I already have. I tell people, if I need a bag, it doesn’t matter to me whether I have one that costs $1, $10, $100 or $1000. A bag is a bag. A cheap one doesn’t make me feel worth less and a super expensive one doesn’t make me feel worth more. Brand names don’t mean anything to me.
When I make a choice to live frugally and to give to others, I do not expect anything in return, but I do think it’s human decency and common courtesy to acknowledge gifts, in verbal or written form, just so givers feel acknowledged and appreciated.
In my personal experience, the more people acknowledge and appreciate my giving or help, the more I want to give and help. So acknowledging giving is not only decency and courtesy, it also encourages and inspires more giving. Otherwise people feel unappreciated. This kills their generous and giving spirit.
I read about the book 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life . It’s on my to-read list and highly recommended.
If more people read the book, and understand how a simple thank-you can change our life, we would have a better world.
A simple thank you goes a long way.