When I was growing up, I remember hearing my parents say Thank You for whatever it was needed for; their words and attitude were truly grateful in the situation. I was taught to say those two simple words, even if it was for something that I deep down inside did not care for; I smiled and said “Thank you” for those jelly beans. It wasn’t about the jelly beans; it was about being thankful for the generosity of the giver. The spirit of gratefulness and saying TWO SIMPLE WORDS was drilled into me while growing up.
There were times when THANK YOU did not roll from my tongue and I was lectured on making sure I remember to say it the next time. It has happened with my son, I’ve had to tell him afterwards to always be sure he says THANK YOU. To this day, I ask him if he said THANK YOU and if he didn’t, I tell him to be sure he says it.
I’ll never forget a little blonde haired girl in one of my kindergarten classes. The family was far from wealthy and I knew they were doing everything they could to pay the tuition for a Christian education on top of providing for their family. On the day before Christmas break that year, this precious girl brought me a half eaten turkey sandwich wrapped in a napkin after our party. She told me that they were not able to buy a present, but that she wanted to be able to give me something for Christmas, after seeing the other children bring presents to my desk that morning. While I knew I would be throwing that little party sandwich away, my heart was greatly touched with gratitude because of the love behind a little shared sandwich. This little girl gave all she had that day because she loved me and didn’t want to feel bad about not buying a gift. Of all the presents I received during my teaching years, that little sandwich is what I remember most and I’m grateful for the generosity behind it.
The attitude of being thankful is something that is quickly diminishing from our society because parents are raising children with an attitude of entitlement. Our children need to be taught that hard work is what provides their needs and wants and that they should ALWAYS be THANKFUL for what is given to them.
I’ve read several articles about where grandparents have stopped giving gifts for this reason. Giving gifts is NOT a requirement, but AN ACT of GENEROSITY. I have a relative who has stopped giving gifts to some of their grandchildren because there was NEVER a THANK YOU spoken for the generosity over the years.
When generous people are burned by ungratefulness, the generosity comes a lot less for those who don’t show gratefulness. It becomes easier to focus more of our generosity on those who send a note, make a phone call, or send an email thanking us for what we’ve done.
As parents, our children need to hear us say THANK YOU and know we are truly THANKFUL for the generosity. We need to be sure they understand why they say Thank You and they are saying those TWO SIMPLE WORDS.