by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
Most of us parents try to instill some form of manners in our children from a young age. “What are the magic words,” goes the refrain. We may force and threaten from time to time, depending on their mood and ours, but most kids understand that 'please' and 'thank you' are important. Use of these words is usually enforced and reinforced in schools, with the hope that one day they will become automatic.
There is no doubt that the forces of speed, greed and need so prevalent today will test this foundation. You know things like people who don't say thank you when you hold the door open for them, drivers who don't wave a grateful hand when you let them in ahead of you (my personal pet peeve), and people who are incapable of cracking a smile if you communicate with them in a warm, friendly way (like at the grocery check-out).
I'm not sure that any of us fully realizes the power of these two little words. The older I get, the more I appreciate just how influential they are. For me, they signify an appreciation of gratitude, of selflessness, of kind actions. They are also, I've observed, used consistently by people who exude confidence, positive energy, and some kind of contentment. All of which are such important ideals and values to impart on our children. Please and thank you validate an action or deed by acknowledging them in a tangible way — words, a thank you card or email, a gift or flowers.
A few years ago I heard a wonderful line that really encapsulated the meaning of these magic words. It resonated with me as a parent, a journalist and an entrepreneur. The lady who shared this wisdom was an entrepreneur herself. “Gratitude grows greatness” she said. Wow – exactly, I thought. Apart from the nifty alliteration, I was moved by the full meaning here. It's not just mouthing the words, but it's appreciating the act behind them. And that is something we probably rarely consider.
People remember grateful people. People remember being thanked. People remember people who take the time to thank them.
Truly magical words!