Karen’s Story: My idea for a World Gratitude Day event was was conceived on April 1, 2009 in the original form of a Thank-You-Note-athon as I was driving back from a business etiquette session I conducted for Eat ‘n Park in Harrisburg. I loved how this idea connects to two parts of my business: my business etiquette training (where I also give out thank you notes as prizes) and my job search coaching (where I always encourage writing thank you notes).
I just read over my gratitude journal entry from then and was reminded of the story…
I had just finished listening to the April Fool’s edition of Politics Takes a Holiday by The Capitol Steps on National Public Radio. I just loved it so much that I thought about how grateful I am that my first love introduced me to NPR many, many years ago and how that has had an impact on my life over the decades. So I thought maybe I would send him a thank you note. Then I thought I might want to send a thank you to one of my college work-study supervisors who introduced me to classical music through Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which became a favorite dance piece of mine.
Then I remembered about the significance of a thank you note that I sent back in 2004 to my 9th grade teacher, Mr. Bill Kouvolo. As a follow-up to a church group session where we talked about people who had a positive impact on us, a few months later (after significant procrastination) I sent Mr. Kouvolo a thank you note saying how much I appreciated the creative, hands-on activities he used in his teaching. To my delight I received a letter back which read:
I received your card on my birthday. It was one of the best “gifts” that I have received on any of my 56 birthdays. I am retiring this year and I have been reflecting lately on my 32 year teaching career. Your card and words were greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for thinking of me……
That’s when I had the inspiration to host a Thank-You-Note-athon so others can hear about the impact they’ve had and we can reflect on what we’re grateful for. I later expanded the idea to A Celebration of Appreciation in conjunction with World Gratitude Day with a broader focus on gratitude.
Originally I had hoped to host this event as my 50th birthday celebration in 2009, but I was too busy releasing my CD, Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet. I see in my journal that I was amused that just the month before I sent thank you notes in St. Patrick’s Day cards to so many people who helped me with the CD project.
Another piece that made me know this project is a mission of mine is that I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for a dozen years now since 2000 before it became popular, and I host The Attitude of Gratitude program each year at Career Link in conjunction with the Thanksgiving season.