Thank You (Fr. Thoman)
I think the two words – “thank you” – are two of the most important words in the English language (well, any language for that matter!).
Unfortunately, it is a traditional and common courtesy which has fallen out of favor. I recall catching a comment in a Dear Abby column some years back about a bride who was insulted because her guests who gave a gift were actually expecting a thank you note! Imagine their nerve! Additionally, whenever I receive a thank you note from a recent graduate or an Eagle Scout I have a vision of a parent hounding this young person until he or she sat down to write thank you notes!
I suppose I am thinking of this because I have been busy writing thank you notes to those who gave me a Christmas gift. I believe this is extremely important and so I make every effort to do this. I am just about finished (and if I have overlooked someone please forgive me!).
Why is saying thank you important? Many reasons could be proposed; here are a few:
- It guards against a sense of entitlement. I am told this is particularly endemic in our younger generation. Sometimes I feel like there are those among us who feel they are entitled to a gift; they deserve it. It seems to me this can lead to arrogance.
- As a corollary to that it demonstrates humility. To say “thank you” shows recognition that this is truly a gift, something unexpected, something given out of kindness and consideration.
- Saying thank you shows respect for the giver: the time and the thoughtfulness that went into the selection of a gift.
- And, as a corollary to that, saying thank you helps to build relationships. Aren’t you affirmed when you receive a thank you? Doesn’t it encourage you, and motivate you, to continue to give a gift? Does not receiving a thank you dampen your desire to give a gift again?
- More reasons could be advanced, (and this blog is getting long enough), but I think Christians, and specifically Catholics, should be particularly thankful because we are a Eucharistic people. We are a people who recognize all of life is a gift, all we have and are is God’s gift. And we recognize God’s love for us through his Son, Jesus. For this reason alone our whole mindset should be a heart filled with gratitude. The whole way in which we go about life should be based in gratitude.