They are such small words. Thank you. Kia ora. Tena koe. Gracias. Xiexie. Merci.
If you've made it this far in life then you've been a child and perhaps like me, you grew up with your parents shouting as you sprinted into a friend's house: "Remember to say please and thank you!"
There is little worse than someone who doesn't say thank you. It doesn't need to be a formally written thank you note, although I am a proponent of these, and am teaching my daughter to do so too.
In my world, saying thank you carries more weight than the please that should precede it. I feel saying thank you says, "I see you, I see what you've done, I value it and I appreciate it". I don't do things for people purely to be thanked, but there is a rank waft of entitlement if people can't bring themselves to give thanks.
It's not hard; lift the head, make eye contact and say the words. Being shy or introverted doesn't wash with me. It's manners and respect in the tiniest and most fundamental way. It can be verbalised, written, left as a voicemail or sent as a text. So many options and all of them are as well-received as the next.
Unless you say thank you in a public forum and then follow it by saying, "You know who you are". Terrible etiquette and so passive-aggressive.
I worked for someone for five years and not once did I receive a thank you. I worked remotely so I guess I wasn't in his consciousness, but obviously, I was on his mind because everything I did was met with negativity, despite my work being appreciated by the rest of the team.
It wore me down and it wasn't until a period of self-reflection this year that I realised it contributed to a lack of confidence in my own professional abilities. Welcome to the confidence crisis of re-entering the workforce after having kids.
We say thank you a lot in our house. I thank my husband when we safely arrive home having been out. I thank my daughter for bringing her plate to the kitchen without prompting. I thank them for bringing me breakfast in bed after a sleep in. Hold on, maybe I'm confused and am preparing myself to thank them for that?
It's not over the top praise. It's not drawn out and fake like the way those girls on Bravo shows draw out their thank you with their Valley Girl twang.
It's an acknowledgement that someone has done something to make my life easier, better or has helped me get to a particular place in life, and I'm grateful for that.
I see the smile on my girl's face, her head tipped as if to the sun and her eyes closed. It's like she is basking in my praise, my gratitude giving her life.
As a parent, the best way to get a child to behave a certain way is to model that behaviour yourself.
Want your child to get off their device? You do the same. Want them to eat their vegetables? You need to eat them too. Want them to say please and thank you? Start using those words frequently yourself.
There are exceptions, but if you create a particular type of environment with certain language and intentions behind those words, then your household will likely adopt those behaviours.
As an adult it doesn't hurt to revisit the most basic parts of gratitude ourselves either. I say thank you, for reading this and supporting me.