In my neck of the woods, one of the highlights of being a dad is being asked to make an appearance at “Career Day” when your child is in 4th grade. I was fortunate enough to be invited by my youngest to speak to her class recently, and, as always, it was a treat.
The favorite part of this year’s appearance, however, were the Thank Yous I received afterward.
The notes were decorated elaborately; many in a variety of colors and inks, and all with the unguarded sweet words of appreciation that seemingly only a child can muster.
It’s important to note that I work for a state banking association – a job I thoroughly enjoy, but not exactly what most 9- or 10-year olds would consider a glamorous position, or even one many at that age can comprehend.
As a result I opted to skip planned discussions on the Federal Reserve System and Quantitative Easing, and a proposed Q&A breakout session on the merits of returning to a bimetallic monetary standard.
There were the polite notes:
- “Dear Mr. Cotton Boll, Thank you for telling us about your job. We enjoyed it. From Zac.”
- “Thank you for coming in and telling us about your job. Josh.”
- “Dear Mr. Cotton Boll, Thank you for coming and talking about your job. I think it is cool. From Jaelyne.”
There were those that were effusive in their praise:
- “Thank you Mr. Cotton Boll. Thank you so much. I enjoyed your job. I think that it is amazing. Thank You! Thank You! (From) Ethan.”
- “Thank you Mr. Cotton Boll. You were great. We really enjoyed you and loved it. It was a great time. You’re the best. Thank you so much. I think that job you said about the bank I might want that job. Thank you sir! From Isabelle.”
- And then there was the unsigned note that read in large alternating blue and black letters “Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!”
And, of course, there was the (unintentionally) humorous:
- “Dear Mr. Cotton Boll, Thank you for teaching me about your job. I think I learned a lot about some stuff so thank you. Love Rileigh.” (For what it’s worth, Rileigh, there are many days when I think I may have learned about some stuff, so I know the feeling.)
- “Thank U. Thank you for coming. You are very nice. I would love to have that job. Thanks again. Sincerely, Madi.” (Madi, there have been times I would have gladly traded places with you.)
- “Thank you for coming. I liked hearing you talk about your job. You did a good job. From Luke.” (Thanks for thumbs-up, Luke. I’ll be here all week; Try the veal.)
- “Thank you. To Mr. Cotton Boll from Mason. Thank you for teaching me about your job.” Mason also drew a $10 bill, which he colored in green ink. I’m not sure if this was a payment, a bribe or simply meant to be a representation of banking, so I decided against calling the authorities on him. Besides, he seemed like a good kid.
One other note simple read: “Thank Your (sic).” There was no name attached, either for a sender or a recipient.
I surmised that this card was actually part of a pre-designed package of Thank You notes, craftily designed to look as though they were drawn by a 4th grader, thereby preventing youngsters from having to do any heavy lifting when it came time to dole out notes of appreciation. Genius, sheer genius.
The best Thank You, though, didn’t come in the form of a note.
Immediately after I finished speaking, my own 4th grader, who had sat beaming at me the entire 30 minutes I spoke, came up and gave me a great big hug and told me she loved me.
And that right there is what makes going to work – no matter what your job, what your pay or how much in the way of shenanigans you have to put up with – worth it.
The fact is, just having my girl ask me to speak to her class is an honor I’ll never forget. Thank you, June Bug, and I love you, too.