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Is the ‘Thank You’ dead now?

Just in case you didn’t notice, the world has changed.

It’s no big deal because it is continually changing if we notice or not. Many of the changes are for the better, and, as you might guess, some are for the worst.

If like me, you are still waiting for a “thank you” for a gift given for a recent birthday, graduation, birth announcement, wedding or some other notable event, welcome to one of the worst changes.

Now, this is not just a grumpy complaint from a grouchy old man, although I definitely qualify. This is an indication of a much deeper problem within our society.

The lack of a proper thank you for help, a favor or a gift shows not only a lack of respect and appreciation, but equally as important, it also indicates a sense of entitlement, all of which are bad attributes in a personality.

During life, we all need help at times, sometimes a pat on the back, sometimes a slight push in the right direction and sometimes a kick in the butt. This is not just true today, it has been true in every generation.

In a way every pat on the back, push or kick in the butt is a gift. I am sure everyone with some reflection can look back on their past and identify one or two people who had a major impact on their lives with something they said or did. I know I certainly have.

The values of appreciating what people do for you and thanking them for it appropriately is something that we need to teach our children from an early age. It is not the responsibility of the school or the church to teach values, it is the responsibility of the parents and the family. It is the function of the school, church and society as a whole to reinforce those family-taught values.

I had an aunt who was smart, funny and generous, sending small monetary gifts to her many nieces and nephews every holiday, birthday or graduation. After a period of time, she noticed that only about half of her gifts were acknowledged and she simply stopped sending gifts to anyone who didn’t have the courtesy to respond.

She did not stop because of the money but because she intended to use it as an opportunity to deliver an important message and correct what she felt was inappropriate behavior. Shortly after Christmas that year, one of her nephews approached her at a family gathering and said, “Aunt Ann, you forgot to send me a gift this year.” Ann smiled and simply replied, “No, I did not forget to send you a gift, you forgot to send me a thank you.”

As a society, we are making a mistake in accepting the death of the “Thank You.” We are also making a mistake by accepting and not correcting this flaw or accepting it as normal. It is not normal and it is not good for the future of us as a society and it is definitely not good for the personal development of our youth as they move into positions as responsible adult citizens.

During my lifetime, I have had several people whom I admired in life and/or who had a personal impact on me pass away. My biggest regret was that I did not take advantage of telling them how important they were to me when I had the chance. I learned that lesson quickly, and I now take every opportunity to tell people thank you for our relationship and how much I appreciate knowing or working with them or for the assistance or guidance they provided me when needed.

A “Thank You” is not only appreciated by the receiver, it makes the giver a better person as well.

John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville and he wants to thank the Altoona Mirror for giving him the opportunity to express his thoughts but especially to all his readers who read and hopefully enjoy his writings.

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