When we teach etiquette, we try to express the importance of the thank-you note. Now, I know when I was a child, I didn’t like to sit and try to write a thank-you note. Even now, it is the social nicety that often is abandoned due to time. None the less, it is time that I write some thank-you notes to some incredible folks, some of whom I did not know before my last column.
My last column was published in January and asked folks to share their 4-H experiences with me. After I wrote it, I realized I was asking a lot more than I intended. It takes time to sort through and prepare to share those personal stories, much less the time to commit those memories to paper and send them on to a stranger.
None the less, some incredibly thoughtful folks did just that. I have not asked permission to use their names, so please forgive me for being so generic in not identifying anyone.
My first story came a couple of weeks after the article from a lady who I have never met, but she is “related to a friend’s friend” type of thing. It was the most wonderful story of her and her husband’s experiences in 4-H. As it turns out, she attributed much of what they did in life through the skills they learned in various 4-H projects. Probably the most heartwarming part for me — seriously, melted my heart — is that they met in 4-H, married, and have been married for more than 50 years.
My second note came in the mail, almost like a thank-you note. It came from a current N.C. State University student who was in our 4-H program. He shared with me the impact 4-H had on his decision to go to NCSU. He showed up about two days later explaining that the letter was part of a class exercise, and if he had known it was going to be mailed to me, he would have worked harder on it to make it better. I told him I wouldn’t change a word, because it was the fact that he took the time — no matter how short or what the motivation — to write it and say thank you.
I must also include that we have a volunteer who sends us text messages every so often. Each time she does, there is a thank you for all that we do or a little something to encourage us and make us laugh. They may seem like little gestures, but they remind us to make every day a little better.
To everyone who took the time to share their stories, thank you. Also, thank you to all of you who read our columns from our Extension staff. We appreciate it when you mention you saw these, liked them, learned something, or even come take part in our programming. I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you the opportunity to come check out our upcoming 4-H programs, maybe volunteer, or sign your child up. You can find our Extension activities on our website at robeson.ces.ncsu.edu.
Be careful, we understand folks who take part might just be inspired to write a thank-you note.
Shea Ann DeJarnette is the 4-H Youth Development agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at 910-671-3276, by email at [email protected], or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.