It’s so easy to say ‘Thank You’

Continental School third-grader Luke van Hoorebeke wrote this letter to his teacher:

Dear Mrs. Flowers, I want to thank you for teaching me at this tuff time. Covid is tuff but you can do it because you are the best teacher ever.

Sincerely, Luke van Hoorebeke

Thank you. Gracias. Grazie. Danke. Arigato.

These are simple ways of expressing gratitude in English, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese.

It’s easy to say “thanks” or “thank you” in any language. Yet children, teens, and adults too, often need to be reminded to use this polite expression.

In English, “thank you” is derived from “think” and originally meant “I will remember what you did for me.”

The custom or practice of always saying “please” and “thank you” began during the commercial revolution in the 16th and 17th centuries and was used primarily by the middle classes. During the last 500 or so years, it has spread worldwide and illustrates finding and seeing happiness and gratitude in everyday life.

Carew Papritz, area resident, author and creator of “National Thank You Letter Day,” is working with teachers and students at Continental School to write letters of thanks for Nov. 14. He created the day on Nov. 14, 2018.

It’s so easy to say ‘Thank You’

Carew Papritz, founder of National Thank You Letter Day, handed out these posters to teachers at Continental School.

Papritz said he chose November because it’s the month of Thanksgiving, and was a logical choice.

He attributes older generations like our parents for maintaining the simple courtesies of “please” and “thank you.” As a young boy, it was natural for him to say those words and send thank-you letters because his parents modeled it, Papritz said.

“Writing a thank-you letter shows the time it took for you to write the text. A letter implies a few more lines than a note. On a computer, the message is gone. Our culture is less polite than ever, which makes civility and gratitude more important. Kindness and manners, gratitude and civility are four timeless values,” he explained.

It’s so easy to say ‘Thank You’

Damian Gerez, in Sharon Flowers’ third-grade class, wrote his letter to the Tucson Police Dept. for helping to keep the city and the country safe.

Does Papritz think it’s rude or improper to send a note of thanks by e-mail?

“No, but a letter is more effective,” he said.

For National Thank You Letter Day 2020, he said the goal is to thank the heroes of 2020 who have helped us through the pandemic — emergency responders, doctors, grocery clerks, teachers, parents, delivery people, mail carriers and those who serve the public every day.

If writing a thank-you note has become a bit of a lost art, follow these tips to make the experience easier and more pleasant:

Begin your note by mentioning the specific gift or action and how thoughtful it was.

If the gift was delivered, mention that it arrived safely.

If the giver personally handed the gift to you, mention something you remember about their visit. Then thank them for the gift, mentioning it by name and how ideal it is for you.

For example: “Thank you for the blue shirt. It’s perfect for me. I enjoy wearing it and get compliments on it. Thank you for choosing it for me. I’ll always think of you when I wear it.”

“Thank you for taking time to help me with my school project. It was just the help I needed and I got an ‘A.' ”

“When I’m older, I plan to help others the way you helped me.”

Notes or cards of thanks are also appropriate when someone has done something generous or kind. A “gift” doesn’t have to be something you can hold.

Don’t delay writing a thank-you letter. It’s helpful to have some pretty paper or blank note cards and envelopes, a pen or pencil and stamps on hand to write a note of thanks.

Contact Green Valley News freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at