One question I am often asked is how late is too late to write thank-you notes?
My answer, it’s never too late.
Keeping in mind that sending notes months after a gift is given or an act of kindness is extended, is not the best way to express gratitude. But, it’s better than not writing at all. Truly.
When we make Thank-yous fun, kids will love writing notes. Even teens. Yes, even teens. To support my case, let me share a recent story. I call it my “Oprah” moment. The moment when I gave thirty Sheaffer Pens to thirty high school seniors.
She gives cars, I give pens. Kind of the same thing… no?
I have had the honor of working with the International Marketing Class at my local High School. During a Networking Etiquette session this fall, one of students asked me about the best type of pen to have on hand for thank-you notes. Sheaffer of course. But they can be a bit out of a high schooler’s budget. Then the wheels started turning. I approached Sheaffer with my idea and they were beyond gracious, agreeing to donate pens for the entire class. Thirty of them.
Enter the “Oprah” moment.
The day before Winter Break I arrived at the High School with a basket of handwriting goodies wrapped in shiny red ribbons.
“They are going to be so excited!!!” the teacher told me.
Whoa, go easy there Mr. D, teenagers of a tech generation “excited” over a pen? I often get excited about pens, but teens? While I knew the students would appreciate the pens, I wasn’t sure if it would reach an “excitement” level.
Shame on me.
The room errupted in excitement.
Then I got excited. Channeling my inner Oprah announcing, “You get a pen, and YOU get a pen!”
Yes, yes, I said that. Out loud.
It felt amazing seeing this generation of iPhone loving, instagram happy, texting instead of talking appreciate a fine writing instrument and hearing, “I can’t wait to write a Thank-You” and “This writes so well!”
Music to my gracious ears. And then, to top it off, what did they do next?
They got busy, writing notes…
and more thank-you notes.
So often I hear how rude teens are today. I disagree. It’s not that they are rude, but in many ways we’ve stopped teaching or sharing gracious habits. Assuming they don’t care. Well we all know what happens when we ass-u-me.
When we exposed people to quality of a gracious life, they are unbelievable grateful.
So let’s keep the gracious word alive and pass on this gift of a handwritten tyou notes. It’s never too late to start teaching or sending.