DEAR ABBY: In my opinion, too many young people today are shortchanged when it comes to manners and etiquette. The knowledge of how wonderful it is to receive written acknowledgment of gifting is rapidly fading.
A quick note of appreciation for any kind of thoughtful gesture lifts the giver's spirit. Receiving recognition for a tangible gift, time spent lending a hand or a shared meal puts a smile on his or her face. These things are not entitlements; they are gifts from the heart.
I urge young parents to teach this courteous gesture to their children. Abby, I know your letters booklet has a section on thank-yous. Maybe it's time you mention it again. -- SHERRIE IN CHEHALIS, WASH.
DEAR SHERRIE: If there is one topic that shows up repeatedly in my mail, it's thank-you notes -- or, rather, the lack of them. It's such a common aggravation that I receive dozens of complaints in every batch of emails or letters I receive. While letter-writing may always be a chore to some people, there are occasions when the written message is the only proper means of communication.
My Dear Abby Letters Booklet was written to serve as a guide to those who put off writing because they don't know what to say or how to say it. It contains sample letters for readers to use to show appreciation for a birthday, Christmas, shower or wedding gift.
There are also examples of letters that are difficult to write, such as expressing condolences to someone who has lost a parent, a child, or for an untimely death such as a suicide or an overdose. My letters booklet can be ordered by sending your name, mailing address, plus a check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.) And remember Rule No. 1: The important thing about letter-writing is to say what you want to say, say it so you can be easily understood, and say it so that it sounds like you.