Recently Jerry and I were in the Twin Cities for our granddaughter’s birthday. One of the “family rules” is you can’t open another present until you write the Thank You for the present you just opened.
Our granddaughter is upfront about saying she doesn’t like to write thank you notes, however, she does like to open presents so she complies.
As adults I doubt if any of us do what we do, go the extra mile, etc. for a Thank You. But… thank yous are always welcomed.
A thank you offered is an acknowledgement of what we have given, whether it is our time, our talents, our listening ear, or an actual gift. It is a validation and a sign of our personhood. Perhaps it is because I am an extrovert and a feeler that when someone thanks me, it energizes me and builds up in me a giving spirit. There is an energy in being valued and appreciated.
John Gottman, a well-known marriage researcher and author proposes what he calls the 1:5 ratio. For every one negative, we need to receive five positives. If we keep sharing genuine gratitudes we can absorb an occasional negative. This 1:5 works for couples, families, workplaces, everywhere. It calls us to AWARENESS. We become more aware of the gifts that others bring into our lives in many diverse ways – mostly simple unobtrusive ways and occasionally more dramatic ways, like the young couple who appeared in the parking lot of Sequoia National Park and fixed our flat tire! (See October blog)
When I occasionally go through a drive-thru restaurant, I always say, “Thank you, sir” or “Thank you, mam.” It’s a habit of mine. I am grateful that these individuals show up and do a job that can be draining and frustrating and not terribly rewarding monetarily. I think we often take for granted what so many workers at what we would term “low end jobs” provide for us. One hopes that their pay and benefits have improved since the COVID crisis.
A few weeks ago, Jerry and I were eating at a standard chain restaurant. The woman who was waiting on us was new to the job. She wasn’t the “20-year-old, whadda ya want”. I think she had just reviewed the manual before we arrived. She did very well. Very attentive. When she gave us the check, I made sure I tipped her a little extra and said, “You did a great job”. We all have had a “first day on the job.” And expressing a small appreciation, I’m sure, made the rest of her evening go more smoothly. Nothing like a little appreciation shared to calm the nerves.
As we continue walking through this month of November moving towards Thanksgiving. Let’s try to be more aware of the many “gifts” that people freely offer us, whether it’s the waitress, the car mechanic, or the postal clerk, and respond with gratitude.
“I give thanks to God always for each of you.”
1 Thessalonians 1:2