For starters, it feels good! Who doesn’t love to receive mail that is personal and not another bill or catalogue?
With today’s technology, reaching out and connecting with friends, family, and work colleagues and customers is easier than ever. In the instant click of a button we can send an e-mail, text, or photos to our neighbor or to someone across the world.
Because of the ease of communicating electronically, most people tend to rely on connecting this way rather than the good, old-fashioned way of sending a hand-written note or letter. While this is certainly acceptable, there are still many occasions where a written note is not only appropriate but also very much appreciated—and one of those cases is a thank you note.
Here are five reasons to encourage family members to send a written note of thanks via snail mail, not through cyber space.
- It’s Unexpected.
- It Teaches Gratitude.
- It Reinforces Good Manners.
- It Teaches Not To Take Things For Granted.
- It Feels Good.
Let's dive deeper into each.
1. It’s Unexpected.
People love to know that they are appreciated, but in today’s hectic world, the kind gestures that people do for one another can easily go unnoticed. Sending a written note of thanks or appreciation shows your gratitude and can also encourage the person who helped you to want to help you, or better yet someone else, again in the future.
2. It Teaches Gratitude.
Let’s face it, we live in a very consumer-driven, materialistic world. Today’s kids are bombarded with advertising touting the latest, greatest gadgets, designer sneakers, must-have tech products, trendy clothing styles, and even gotta-have school locker décor! When kids send a written thank you note to grandparents, classmates, babysitters, and even their pediatrician, it reinforces the importance of feeling gratitude, laying a solid foundation for being appreciative all through their young and adult lives.
3. It Reinforces Good Manners.
The practice of writing personal thank you notes helps kids develop critical social skills that are essential to maintaining strong relationships. Basically, when kids are taught to physically thank another person for a gift (or experience) that they’ve received, it’s also reinforcing good manners. Please and thank you have long been the magic words—a written thank you takes this to a whole new level.
4. It Teaches Not To Take Things For Granted.
If a family member, friend, or coworker takes time from his busy schedule to give a gift to someone in your household, that means they think highly enough of your child to make this effort. Writing a thank you note isn’t just a nice thing to do, it also helps kids learn not to take these relationships for granted. Guide them in an age-appropriate manner. A three-year-old isn’t going to handwrite her own note, but she can draw a little picture, to which you can add a couple of sentences of appreciation. If your child starts young, writing thank you notes will become a wonderful habit, and will instill a deep sense of appreciation for both the gifts received and the people who gave them.
5. It Feels Good.
Who doesn’t love to receive mail that is personal and not another bill or catalogue? Sending notes of appreciation can be done out of genuine caring for another person, not just because they’ve given you a tangible gift. Is there an office staff member in your child’s school that lights up the room with a warm and friendly smile and always makes your kids feel safe? Do you have a favorite employee at your deli who knows exactly how you like your cold cuts sliced? Does your mother-in-law love spending time with her grandkids to give you a little break now and again? These types of examples can also warrant a thoughtful, written note of appreciation by you or your child. Not only will they be surprised and delighted to receive it, you will feel terrific knowing how special you made someone feel—just because!
Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it. --Ralph Marston
Image of a child writing a letter © Shutterstock