I see on my Facebook feed that many people have taken to posting daily “thankful for” updates throughout the month of November. These updates, and presumably the people posting them, are nice albeit a bit predictable, as in “I’m thankful for my amazing family and my hilarious friends”. Thanksgiving is the time of year when many people think of gratefulness. But, why is giving thanks an annual ritual and not a daily habit?
Sincere gratitude isn’t something to be saved-up and unload once a year. A thank you can go a long way to brighten someone’s day. A thank you also reinforces behaviors you wish to perpetuate. Or, in its most basic sense, a thank you indicates you don’t take someone’s kindness for granted. Being someone who gives thanks is a selfless act too.
Thank you notes have come a long way since Miss Manners. I’d argue handwritten is still a classic. But, one of my favorite of recent times was a Vine video of a kiddo hugging a birthday gift. What could be more personal and heartfelt than those 6-seconds? On a post-it, in an email, with a photo, hand written snail-mail, via video, with a voicemail; whatever your method, it’s the thought that counts. A clearly articulated and sincere message matters most.
While salt has pepper and cookies have milk, thank you is perfect mates with please. These days, we’re rushed, we’re edited down to 140 characters and sometimes courtesy gets cut. Please has become pls, and sometimes it is abandoned altogether. Please, please reconsider. In the absence of please, a command is nuanced with entitlement. But, when please is a part of the request it becomes a plea for teamwork, for collaboration. Please is communal. And, Thank you nurtures the community.
So, as we sit around the Thanksgiving table and give thanks for life’s bounty may I please implore you to consider this just the beginning of an appreciative year. May the momentum of your thanks carry through to a daily attitude of gratitude. And may the thanks you share with others infect them with positivity and grace.