Two words all too often forgotten

“When you uplift others, you uplift yourself, too.”

Last weekend, Lori and I attended our annual press convention. It’s always refreshing to rub shoulders with our peers, as we all understand the ins and outs we deal with as publishers of Nebraska’s community newspapers.
    In addition, we get the opportunity to hear great speakers and attend workshops to help improve ourselves as well as the product we bring to you each week.
    This year, there was one speaker who stood out among them all—V. J. Smith of Brookings, South Dakota.
    Smith is a 1978 alumni of South Dakota State University (SDSU), located in Brookings, and returned there in 1990 for a 16-year stint as a fundraiser and executive director of the almuni association. In 2007, he began a career as a professional speaker, sharing his knowledge gained over the years.
    Everyone likes to be appreciated, he told us, and there’s no better way than the simple act of expressing two words—two words often forgotten in today’s world—“Thank You.”
    Unfortunately, the act of sending a thank you note in the mail is becoming a dying art form. It shouldn’t be, he noted.
    When he addresses high school seniors, he challenges them to a one-week deadline to have all their thank yous written for the gifts they get at graduation.
    He asks the teachers who gave gifts to students last graduation to stand. Then he asks them to stand again if they’re still waiting for thank you notes from last year. They all stand again, he said.
    “Is that they way you want to be remembered?” he asks the seniors.
    And emailed or texted thank yous don’t count. But that’s how we students communicate today, they tell him. What if you get an email or text with a picture of the gift instead, he asks, as a way of putting things into perspective.

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