As your child graduates and heads off to college or the workforce, they may feel ill prepared at the idea of behaving like an adult. With the turn of a tassel, they are now expected to know how to make their way. Many don’t realize that they have the personal power to stand out in the crowd, contribute to others and make a difference in small, yet powerful ways. The thank you note is one such way.
A child’s first brush with formal expressions of gratitude was most likely a crayon-scrawled thank you to Grandma for the five dollars in their birthday card. I am also willing to bet that the note was only completed due to extreme prodding by Mom.
It’s no wonder that many people prolong the thank you process until they think they have passed an imaginary deadline. However, gratitude can be expressed anytime and a thank you note, more importantly a hand written thank you note, can be a powerful, priceless gesture.
A thank you note is certainly suitable for tangible items, but becomes powerful and priceless for the intangible; a note to a special teacher who always took the time to encourage their passion, a coach that was a powerful mentor, a neighbor or family friend that introduced them to an interest or hobby.
For a college student, the thank you note opens doors. A written note now may mean a leg up on the competition later when the recipient is asked to recommend someone for a scholarship, internship or job opening. In a world of texts and instant messages, it may seem the acceptable thing to do is dash off a quick “Thx” – that’s text talk for thank you. Acceptable? Maybe, but powerful? No.
A hand written thank you note lingers on the mind and heart. Its very presence in the mailbox causes the recipient to pause, throw aside the bills and junk mail and concentrate on the moment. It’s not uncommon for the thankee to respond to the thanker – with a “Thank you for the thank you, it made my day!”
Consider supplying a new grad with a gratitude kit; an elegant pen, high quality notes and forever stamps in a classy portfolio or binder. No more excuses that they didn’t have a card, or a stamp.
A gratitude kit may not be the coolest thing they receive, since most prefer cash. Yet, with the right tools and encouragement, they are empowered to stand out from the mass of emails and text messages and make someone’s day – maybe even their own.
About the author: Susan M. Sparks is the mother of two and the author of The Student Life Jacket, The Easy-to-Use Guide to Staying Afloat in a Sea of Paperwork for Young Working Adults and College Students available at www.TheStudentLifeJacket.com or Amazon.
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