“The Power of the Hand-Written Word” (a 50-second reading)

February 10, 2012

I sat down in my usual seat in class the other afternoon, and spotted a little envelope with my name on it.  I quickly surmised that it must be a thank-you-note from a colleague.  She and her husband had been to my apartment for dinner last weekend, and the note was a very gleefully-received gesture of appreciation.

I have a stack of simple notecards and letterhead at the ready, and I try to use them in place of (or in addition to) electronic notes of gratitude.  They often trigger a “thank you for your thank you” chain that is quite delightful.  It creates a special memory and bond as humans exchange purposeful and shared emotion.

In Luganda, when you say “Webale nnyo” (meaning “Thank you very much”), the reply is “Webale kusima,” which means “Thank you for appreciating.”  This “thank you for your thank you” chain is a lot like that, and speaks from that heart-place that is blessed by expressions of gratitude.  Expressions that took just a little more effort, a little more time, and the engagement of the entire hand (not just the thumbs).  The expression also invites itself into a happy-file or at least into a desktop drawer, where it will be rediscovered at some point, and the sentiment will be repeated and remembered.

And delight will once again be created.

Such is the power of the hand-written word.

One Response to “The Power of the Hand-Written Word” (a 50-second reading)

  1. February 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I really like the Luganda infusion in your write up. Now I should give you the electronic Thanks for sharing

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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