Some of the first words people learn growing up are please and thank you.
Those words clearly demonstrate appreciation, gratitude, consideration and kindness. They are universal words found in any language on the planet and are used several times a day by people of all ages in any situation, whether it’s in the grocery store checkout, at a library, in a Tim Horton’s drive-thru or even at a local doctor’s office.
Please and thank you are words not limited to just verbal expression. In fact, I can remember countless hours sitting down at our kitchen table to write thank you notes for birthday gifts, Christmas presents or any other unexpected surprise that arrived in the mail from family or friends. These words are usually taught to children at a very young age and can often reflect to some degree, how a child is raised – with respect for others, especially their elders, being courteous when appropriate and with manners, that can include proper etiquette and learned behaviours.
From the time I could speak, please and thank you were ingrained into my being as much as learning my own name was. They were used often at family gatherings, school events with teachers and other students, and at any outside sport or organization I belonged to such as Brownies or skating lessons. These words became second nature to me, to the point where I didn’t even have to think about saying them when I was growing up, nor writing them in an email or a text message today.
This is why I was so surprised, or rather shocked, to read something that a former colleague tweeted last week. It was a letter in an ‘Ask Amy’ column in the Toronto Sun. The title stated ‘Millennial wonders if ‘thank you’ is too old-fashioned’. Stunned, I thought to myself that saying thank you in any way, shape or form will never be ‘old fashioned’.
I decided to look up the letter online so I could read the submission in its entirety, so as to not take anything out of context. The reader asked whether or not sending a thank you note was too formal and whether or not rules have changed over the years, seeing that none of their millennial friends send thank you notes today. They signed it a ‘grateful millennial’. The short answer to that question is simply no, the rules have not changed and a thank you note or letter will never be old fashioned.
For many people, receiving a thank you in any form, whether it’s an email, a note or a card on your desk at the office or even a thoughtful gesture such as dropping off a dozen freshly baked muffins straight from the oven, can warm hearts and make people feel like they are appreciated and they matter.
Anytime a friend, a family member or even a stranger, extends a kind word or a compliment, a helping hand, some much needed advice or support through a difficult time, they deserve our thanks and our show of appreciation. It could be a verbal expression, a text message, a post on social media, a small gift or a short thank you note that’s sent in the mail.
When it’s done with gratitude, that’s all that matters.