I wrote a guest blog post for another website earlier this week, so I figured I’d share it here as well. It’s certainly a little more thought-provoking than my usual banter, but given the time of year I think it’s appropriate. Have no fear, my tales of toddler mayhem will return soon enough. Happy Holidays!
Have you ever thought about how many times a day you say “thank you”? For most of us it’s completely second nature. A cashier at the grocery store hands you your change, and you say “thank you.” Someone compliments your new shoes, and you say “thank you.” You get a cool gift for your birthday, and you say “thank you.”
The “please and thanks” rule is embedded in us at an early age. My own two year old knows that if he wants something he has to say “please”, and once he gets it he has to say “thank you”. It’s old fashioned manners, but sometimes I wonder if we take it for granted. Most of our day-to-day thank yous are merely habit and go in one ear and out the other. But think about a time when you gave or received a thank you that really meant something… It’s a totally different experience.
At some point you’ve probably had a good friend lend an ear and counsel you through a tough time. Did you give that friend a heartfelt thank you? Have you ever given to a charitable cause – monetarily, volunteering your time, or donating goods – and been on the receiving end of their appreciation? It has a different meaning than barely mumbling thanks as you rush out of the supermarket. When you are recognized for doing something good, or when you acknowledge someone else, it resonates. You feel it for more than a few seconds. Giving or receiving an honest thank you is infectious, and it brings out the do-gooder in all of us.
I am partial to a couple of charitable organizations, and if I hand over a donation in person, I look in the eyes of the person taking my gift and say “thank you for what you do.” I mean every word of it, and spend the rest of my day feeling good. It’s so easy to give back these days, even if you don’t have a dime to spare. Challenge yourself to be good even if it’s just once a year. Volunteer, donate, or start a fundraiser. Cut your neighbor’s grass if he isn’t able. Take dinner to a coworker who’s recovering from an illness. Offer to babysit a friend’s kids so she can have a night out. Tell someone why you appreciate them.
Everyone should experience the power of a real THANK YOU. It feels just as great to earn it as it does to give it out. So why not try it both ways? You’ll thank me for it…