During these uncertain times, people of all ages have shown many inspiring acts of kindness and generosity. One of those ways has been in the form of thank-you messages — written inside notecards, scribbled onto cardboard signs, or sent through e-mails. It may seem like a simple gesture. Yet for those working diligently each day during this nationwide health crisis, or even for people at home who are keeping an eye out for their neighbors, a thank-you message may not be expected, but is always appreciated.

For parents homeschooling their children, this is the perfect time to teach them the importance of gratitude, and that can be accomplished through a written letter, e-mail, or even a sign.

“Any expression of gratitude stands out even more” during this time when the nation is battling the coronavirus pandemic, said Rande Richardson, executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation. “It may be the only positive thing people experience throughout the day.”

Family, friends and neighbors would also benefit from a kind note or letter, because “we’ve been creating social distance between each other, and something like this helps draw all of us closer together,” he said. “Expressing gratitude creates a stronger connection between the person sending the thank-you message and the person receiving it.”

The Community Foundation has developed several initiatives in recent years to help children and teenagers give back to the community. Along the way, these younger people have learned a valuable lesson — giving to others brings them as much joy and fulfillment as those at the receiving end, said Mr. Richardson.

It’s been shown that children who are involved in supporting their communities at a young age typically become active as volunteers and leaders when they reach adulthood, he said. The Community Foundation has seen this firsthand through its “Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge” and its “Youth Philanthropy Council” initiatives.

“Any expressions of gratitude, such as a simple thank-you note, does not go unnoticed,” Mr. Richardson said. “It’s a habit that children can carry into their adult life.”

How to get started?

There are the health care workers — doctors, nurses and other support staff – working on the frontlines to save lives. And others in the hospital who support them, from the meal service workers to the cleaning staff.

Public health officials are working countless hours to track and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in their respective counties. Pharmacists are continuing to provide people with vital medications. Workers in the grocery stores are stocking the selves, checking out customers, and vigorously cleaning day and night to prevent the spread of the virus. Truck drivers have stayed on the roads to deliver vital supplies, and many restaurant workers have been preparing and delivering donated takeout food.

The postal workers are delivering the mail and packages, the sanitation employees are picking up garbage, janitors and maintenance workers are cleaning buildings, and farmers are working to keep up the supply of milk and other food products.

Remember that teaching your children to write heart-warming messages of gratitude is more than just a lesson in writing. It’s a way to teach compassion for others in their own communities, along with appreciation for family, friends and neighbors.

A thank-you message could take many forms —written in crayon on a piece of paper that may even include bonus artwork. Or a hand-written message on a decorative notecard. For those who prefer the keyboard, a note typed on the computer – perhaps decorated with some clip art – is yet another option.

It’s really the message that counts.

(Here is how to incorporate an English lesson into this project. A thank-you message doesn’t have to be lengthy. In fact, this is an opportunity for children to focus on the real importance of their words and sentences, and not get distracted with the number of words filling the page).

Some examples of sentences to help your child get started, along with phrases that could be included in a thank-you message:

1. Our family would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for…

2. Our family wishes to thank you for…

3. We appreciate your dedication to…

4. We recognize your hard work during this difficult time…

5. You are doing a remarkably good job…

6. You have gone the extra mile…

7. Your work has really made a difference in the lives of…

8. Your tireless efforts to help others…

9. You have shown genuine concern…

10. We have grown to think of you as a real hero…

One final note — don’t forget to make a copy of the thank-you messages before they are sent, and tuck them away in a scrapbook with photos, news clippings, etc. to document your family’s journey during this unique time of self-isolation and social distancing.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

Holmes -- the real one

What an excellent column, Norah Machia!

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