I Believe in saying

Bettina - Winnipeg, Canada
Entered on November 26, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: gratitude


Thank you. I believe in saying “Thank you”.

I’m not really talking about the routine “thank you” that we say to one another as a part of everyday manners. I’m referring to thank you gestures that need to be expressed for unexpected acts of kindness by strangers, or the extra efforts family and friends make for one another.

Recently I wrote a thank you note to a physiotherapist I had seen for several sessions about a knee injury. Miraculously, through her intervention and lessons on valuable exercises, I did not require surgery. After months of pain during daily activities, I got better. There still isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate her help. I thought that she should know how grateful I am, and needed to communicate my happiness and relief in a thank you card.

I have previously sent thank you notes to my physician, a surgeon, and a hospital nursing team. They all provided wonderful care and deserved to know that they are still doing the good things they set out to accomplish when they entered their professions.

Saying “thank you” hopefully benefits the recipient, but it also does wonders for you. It helps you to be grateful in an ongoing way for what you have, for whatever state of health you are in, or whatever level of freedom you enjoy. If you are lucky, or you work at it, you can capture that feeling of wonderment regularly that someone has given you something, small or large.

Thank you cards seem to be a dying tradition. I still often receive them from my older friends for a simple dinner at my home. Younger friends don’t necessarily even acknowledge gifts at all. When no thank you is offered, the given often doesn’t even know if the present was received. Hard feelings can result as is evident in the advice columns published on this topic in newspapers and magazines. Communicating thanks in some manner will always be appropriate and should be encouraged.

I believe that gestures of thanks go a long way in promoting harmonious relationships and even, perhaps in a small way, contribute to that often wished for “world peace”. Doing a favour for another driver and receiving a return wave makes one feel good! A smile between strangers who do not share a language can alter their interaction completely. Acts of kindness are definitely influenced by the recipient’s appreciation. Simple thanks guide people’s actions and give them feedback about how to do things the next time.

I am not sure how I became convinced about saying thanks. Perhaps it partially stems from my parents’ insistence that I write thank you letters for Christmas gifts, even when I didn’t really like the presents. In any case, thank you to them for those teachings. And a big “thanks” to my sister, who gave my husband a copy of This I Believe and introduced us both to this wonderful series of writers.