This I Believe – To Say Thank You

Morgan - Cambridge, Massachusetts
Entered on January 2, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: gratitude

This I believe – to always say thank you to bus drivers, sales clerks, friends who host parties, and relatives who give gifts.

When I was a little girl in New York city riding the bus with my mother, she taught me two important lessons, to give up my seat to someone older than me, which was just about everybody, and to say thank you to the bus driver.

Forty years later, I still thank every bus driver, and am amazed at how many riders don’t. I thank drivers who stop to let me cross streets. I thank my kids when they take the garbage out. I say thank you to waiters and waitresses, to sales clerks, to teachers. I try to remember to thank my husband for taking the dogs out and changing light bulbs.

I write thank you notes to just about everyone, whether I thanked them in person or not, for presents they gave me and kind acts they performed.

When I got married, a friend of my mother-in-law’s asked if we had received her present because she hadn’t heard from us. My shocked mother-in-law said, ”Morgan is so good about thank you notes, I can’t imagine what happened.” I hadn’t received the gift. It was lost in shipping. It now hangs in our house, and the sender received a note.

It’s more than common courtesy to say thank you. It shows you care, that you appreciate the act performed for your benefit or the gift given you. When I receive a note in the mail, via email or a verbal thank you for something I did, I feel valued and respected. I didn’t give the gift, throw the party or teach the class to be thanked, but to know the recipients took the time to write means they care and didn’t just take what I did for granted. I love hearing my kids say thank you when I do their laundry, although I don’t hear it enough. And, if a student says thank you, I know I’ve done a good job, just like the bus driver.

During the year my mother was dying, several close friends stood by me. Six months after her death, I wanted to thank them for their support and have fun doing so. I took them to a makeover party. We chuckled as professional make up artists did our faces and then went out for drinks.

My teenage daughters roll their eyes when I ask them to write their thank you notes but they reluctantly do so, on stationery with their names or pretty pictures on it.

But, I don’t have to tell them to say thank you when they ride a bus or cross the street. When I hear them thank the drivers, I know I’ve not only taught them to appreciate the things other people do for them, but to acknowledge them as well.