Guest Post By Michael Brandon
Technology has drastically changed the way we communicate. Is there still room for the written thank you note in today’s digital world? When I was a kid, my mother taught me that sending a written thank you note was an important aspect of showing gratitude for a nice gesture. After a birthday party? Thank you notes. A teacher was especially helpful? Thank you notes. But, that was then and this is now. Has etiquette changed with the rise of digital communication? The truth is, thank you notes are more important now than ever.
The Thank You Economy
If you need evidence for the value of teaching an abundance of gratitude, just take a look at the way the job market has changed in the past decade. With the decline of the 40 year career, and the rise of social media, cultivating the right relationships is the best way to develop an edge in today’s economy. As careers become more transient and relationship based, the ability to show proper gratitude will become a huge competitive advantage. There is no better way to make a lasting impression on a potential client, mentor, or employer, than by showing your gratitude for a good deed, with a well written thank you note. Careerbuilder.com recently conducted a study that found that “22% of hiring managers are less likely to hire a candidate that doesn’t send a thank you note”. You want your kids to get jobs, right? So, thank you notes are far from obsolete. Our children’s lives will take place largely in a digital world. But, because of this fact, thank you notes are going to become that much more valuable and treasured.
A child is never too young to learn about gratitude. The best occasion to help teach a child how to write thank you notes is after a birthday party. A birthday party is one of the first times in a child’s life that everyone’s attention is centered completely around the child. Because of this, it is the perfect time to teach your kid to show gratitude for all of the extra things that were done because of them. However, getting a kid to write a bunch of thank you notes may be easier said than done. Here is a good resource with a lot of ideas to help a child with their first foray into written gratitude: Thank You Notes for Kids. The article suggests that we let our children be as creative as possible. Consider giving your child a printable coloring thank you card, a fill-in-the-blank card, or just let them go wild. These early displays of gratitude won’t be the same as the one’s your children will eventually send to employers, but by teaching our kids early on, they will be thankful by nature as they grow into adults. Thank you notes are not dead. Any child that is primed towards graciousness will be better prepared for the future that lies ahead. What do you think? Let me know in the comments. Are you going to teach your kids to write thank you notes despite the prevalence of e-cards and and Facebook?