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.  

Fr. Dwayne


  • Lynda Jelinek

    I was playing euchre with my girlfriends last weekend. I found myself saying "Thank You" after every hand my partner took. But I forgot to thank my friend for inviting me into her home. I missed the forest for the trees. Our selfish modern world...


  • Renee

    Thank you, Fr Dwayne, for sharing your thoughts. I am sure there are many who agree with you! Count me in that group!