Show an attitude of gratitude

I want to talk about two simple words, words that I think are being vastly under used in our society today; two simple words that mean everything. Those words are thank you.

As parents we are always telling our kids to say please and thank you, but as the years dwindle by, we forget the very lessons we once taught; lessons about using our manners.

Even on the phone, in a store or at a restaurant we expect people to help us, yet we forget to say thank you.

Yet those two simple words say so much more, they say ‘I recognize your efforts and I appreciate it’; they say ‘I know you’re not invisible and I’m glad you helped me’. That goes a long way in a world where people are often too self absorbed in their own bubble to recognise that there are others out there, beyond the range of their cell phone.

To me it all it comes down to appreciation, showing gratitude, and children are not the only ones who forget to show it.

Think about it, how many times at work have you worked really hard on a project and your boss hasn’t noticed it. How do you feel? You work your tail off to do the best you can and then despite your best efforts the boss fails to recognise all your hard work. It’s frustrating isn’t it? When we were younger and we did something right, our parents and teachers often said ‘good job’. Now that we’re older those words have virtually disappeared, and that’s really sad, because just like our kids, we as adults thrive on kind words, just as much now as we did when we were younger Even more so to a certain extent because of all the stress we’re under.

I’m lucky; one of my bosses is a real positive guy. I work as part of a team so when one of us succeeds, we all succeed, but I still get a big smile on my face when he tells me I’ve done a good job and says thank you for working so hard; it makes me really proud to know that my efforts are being recognised and like a child who has been given a gold star by their teacher, I rush home and tell my husband what the boss said because it just makes me so darn happy.

Remember when you were in school and you worked really hard on a test and got a good grade, then you ran home and showed your Mom and she put it up on the fridge for everyone to see and said how proud of you she was? It made you feel like a million bucks then didn’t it?

We still need that; those are important words to hear no matter how old you are.

When my husband cooks a good meal we all say ‘thank you for the nice dinner daddy’ (actually what we are really thankful for is that it wasn’t mummy’s cooking as daddy is a professional chef and mummy burns things), but the fact that his efforts are noticed makes him feel really good. Why have we stopped saying that?

Is it that hard to tell people we like what they did, when we know it will make them feel good? Or are we too busy rushing around like little worker ants to stop and recognise the efforts of others?

Christmas was just here, how many of you got gifts from friends and family and you haven’t called them or sent a note to say how much you appreciated their gift? Have you even sent a lousy e-mail or e-card to show that their efforts meant something to you? It only takes a few minutes, but the effect is noticeable, because when you send a gift and don’t hear thank you, how do you feel?

How many times have you been driving in the car and let someone in front of you and they don’t even wave or beep to say thanks? You get a little angry, don’t you? How many times have you gone out of your way to help someone at work, just to be nice and again, they don’t even say thank you? Do you really want to help them again after that?

I’ve been married awhile and as the years pass it’s easy to take your partner for granted, but I try not to, as does my husband, because it’s the little things that make up the big things in a marriage. It makes me feel good to know that he appreciates when he has clean clothes to wear to work and it makes him happy when I give him a hug and say ‘thanks for mowing the lawn, before the grass got waist high’. It’s saying thank you for buying my favourite candy at the grocery store and appreciating when you pay the bills and check the mail.

Sure it’s stuff you automatically do anyway, but that doesn’t mean your efforts should go unnoticed, because when someone tells you they appreciate your efforts, it makes you want to work even harder.

Next time you want your kids to clean their rooms, remember that, and don’t forget to say thank you when they finally do it.

So as you start a brand new year, start a brand new attitude and show some appreciation. Say thank you to your kids, your employees, your partner, to the person who let you ahead of them in traffic, helped you find the right item at the store or gave you the correct information over the phone.

The world is full of scary things; let’s make others smile by using our manners, please.

Cathy Richardson