It’s Only a Small Phrase, But it’s a Big Deal

My husband, GeekDaddy, took Buttercup to the pediatrician’s today for her 5 year checkup. After surviving 3 shots and the usual medical routine – as they were leaving, GeekDaddy said “don’t forget to thank Dr. Karen,” and she ran right over to her doctor and said “Thank you Dr. Karen and we’ll see you again soon!” This brought about a chorus of ‘awww!’s from the surrounding nurses and medical staff.

Every day, when we leave preschool, I look at Buttercup and her best friend Trixie and say “don’t forget to thank your teachers, girls” and they run over and say “thank you Miss M! thank you Miss L! See you tomorrow!” sometimes even accompanied by hugs. Sometimes, another child in the room emulates them when they do this.

Today, the amazing Mr. Gary Vaynerchuk [@garyvee] posted a video on his personal site saying thank you to everyone who interacts with him online – be it commenting, watching, twittering, emailing, whathaveyou. (Seriously, take the time to watch this… Gary’s powerful in his delivery and reminds us of things we need to remember.)

Thank you…

Two very powerful little words that should be part of everyone’s daily lexicon. Yet seemingly vanishing from the average person’s vocabulary.

Geekdaddy & I always get complex looks from other parents when we remind Buttercup to thank someone – but we never get those looks from the person she’s thanking. Because in reality, all anyone really needs to know is that you appreciate what they are doing for you to make their own day a little brighter.  It’s our job as parents to make sure that our daughter gets that and grows up to use it regularly.

Thanking your waitress because she brings you a bottle of ketchup rather than just continuing on with your conversation with your tablemates is good.
Thanking the clerk at the convenience store rather than staring blankly out the window as he counts out your change is good.
Thanking someone for taking the time to read your thousand word blog post on social media is good.
Thanking anyone and everyone for the time they spend making your world a better place? Good.

But you’ve got to mean it.

It can’t be an off-handed ‘thanks’ just grunted at the other person as if you were passing gas.  A real, sincere, meet their eyes, smile when you say it “Thank You.” Heck, go the extra mile and make it “Thank you very much!

We’re all only given so much time in a day and so many days with which to spend that time.  That someone spends it on making your world a better place – or choosing to interact with you over the thousand other things they could be doing? Yeah, thank you is a small return… but it can make someone realize that you appreciate what they give you.

So, Thank You.  Thank you very much for taking the time to read this – for taking the time to share your thoughts with me when you comment or email or twitter.  Thank you for spending a part of your time making my world a better place.

Thank you very much!


~ by Lucretia on April 2, 2008.

34 Responses to “It’s Only a Small Phrase, But it’s a Big Deal”

  1. And thank you for writing your blog, which I am enjoying reading, and for taking the time to interact with me through social media (Twitter, FriendFeed)

  2. Score one for humanity and social media as they cross paths..

  3. Well, thank you for that! Seriously, though, it’s an important and oft-overlooked necessity in our world.

    My favorite- I love to thank people for working on a major holiday. Sure, it’s easy to take it for granted that you can go grab some butter at the 7-Eleven on Thanksgiving, but someone gave up their Thanksgiving (or seriously compromised it) to work that shift so YOU could have the convenience of some butter. I’ve been the guy working a holiday too many times over the years, and the Thank You always means something.

  4. You are a gift so yes, thank you. I can see the joy in Buttercup’s teacher’s eyes when she ends her day with them that way!

    Each day I’m amazed at who is paying attention to becoming more kind. It’s the one thing I remind my boys regularly. Saying thank you is part of it, but awareness of others is such a valuable life skill that seems to have been forgotten.

    Thank you and a big hug, too!

    PS Don’t know what I’d do without Gary Vee now I’ve found him. Totally addicted!

  5. Thank you for the reminder!

    Now on to three little words we should say as often as possible…I love you…imagine the possibilities!

  6. I can’t tell you how many of my little one’s classmates could learn this lesson.
    Thank you is a “leading indicator.” The ones who say “thank you” are also usually the ones that behave well, are nice to have over to the house, and who have parents who are nice but know how to put limits on their kids. You’re being a great parent teaching Buttercup this lesson.

  7. @Krista, @mammaren, @Lee, @April, @BGreen, @Jeanne –
    Thank you AGAIN! :)

  8. @Howard – thank you again as well!

    I’m a firm believer in the motto that “parent is a verb, not a noun.”

  9. Yes, yes, and yes. My parents weren’t big on thank-yous, although they were big on counting one’s blessings and being appreciative. When I did my time as a Hollywood Assistant I was constantly on the end of asking people for favors (and occasionally doing them) and that’s where I really learned the power of a thank you.

    I try to incorporate it in my everyday life, as you’re teaching your daughter – from waitresses to clients where i work to my husband when he helps me with something.

    I think you make an excellent point about the GENUINE thank you. Eye contact. A smile. Those bits of humanity that seep through two words are contagious.

    So…uh…merci. :)

  10. Such an important message for everyone…from kids to adults. Thank you – can warm the heart. A close second is “good job”/”well done”. This kind of recognition means – “hey I noticed you”…”I appreciate what you do..”

  11. Nicely done!

    And thank you for the tweet that sent me over here. . . .

  12. I go crazy when my kids forget the pleases and thank you’s…but they gotta mean it.. I don’t like it when parents ‘force it’ and the lesson is not there.

    but yes…politeness goes along way in the world.

  13. I am so happy I found you through twitter. I agree with you – people should take the time and the effort to be nice to each others in every day situations like you described.
    It’s those little things in life that will make the difference on the end of the day.

  14. @slackmistress, @michelle, @whymommy, @crunchy

    Thanks again guys. Kind of funny that my ranting brought you guys over to my thank you… I guess I’m kind of emotional at times about it! :)

    Thank you – for making me a better person!

    (and for someone reading this and not commenting? thank you for lending me a few moments of your time!)

  15. @katja – you must’ve been typing at the same time I was! Thanks! :)

  16. I agree wholeheartedly, and I make a point of this for myself and my kids. I can’t tell you how often I get a pause and a genuine smile back from a bank teller, store cashier, or the like when I loke them in the eye and make a moment of conversation with them. It takes almost no effort to turn a routine encounter into a little bit of real human interaction.

    From experience, I also know that it means something from the cashier’s perspective. Sooooooo many people treat you offhandedly or rudely — it makes a big difference when somebody takes half a thought to be civil and friendly.

  17. Great post! Thanks for it and for making my days and evenings brighter just by being you when you post on Twitter. (Especially that part where you say good night a zillion times – it cracks me up every time =:)

  18. @Tim – that’s my experience as well.
    I kind of feel like those who come in and take out their crappy day on the cashier at the gas station spread the muck about further… but those who come in with a smile, a genuine thanks, and a real moment of ‘hey, you exist and are appreciated’ spread twice as much sunshine – because that will get passed on as well.

    @Kim – awww… you are WAY too good to me… and I only say good night about um, a half-dozen times a night now…I’m getting better! :)

    Thanks you guys for adding to this!!

  19. This is so true. We really emphasize to our kids how important this is even if a waiter/waitress is bringing food. It’s just good manners! It is amazing how in our busy, busy world we forget to say thank you and how saying thank you can mean so much!

  20. @aruni – see? I know that you’d be the one in the classroom with me saying “remember to thank your teacher!” rather than looking at me funny!
    We’re parents, we’re supposed to pass these things on! :)

    Thank you for stopping by – your site is always amazing!

  21. I’m also a stickler with “Thank you”, for myself and my pre-schooler.

    But, something that I find is even MORE overlooked is saying “You’re welcome” in return. In particular, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in my travels to the US. My “Thank you” is returned with “uh huh” about 80% of the time. Drives me crazy! I have not had this response in Canada at all.

    So as much as I appreciate you thanking me, I would sincerely like to say, you’re welcome!


  22. I’m so glad that there are others who value people. Saying “thank you” and replying with a genuine “you’re welcome,” are more than a sign of good manners but should come from a genuine appreciation of humans. I go out of my way to be kind to everyone that I come into contact with because I truly believe all people are worthy of it. Eye contact, smiles and genuine warmth are all things we can use more of in this world. Thank you for sharing this insight. It was truly a beautiful post and you and your husband sound like incredible parents!

  23. @Adele – you’ve got a great point! “You’re Welcome” is just as important!
    I have a tendency myself to say “No worries! Thank you!!” and that’s not quite as good – so I should work on that!

    You know, I’ve met the most amazing people in the past few months – but even more important to me in a very personal way is that I’ve met a bunch of amazing parents who are trying to make sure that their kids grow up to be amazing people. Thanks for being one of them, and thanks for sharing your journey with me!

    @Karen – it’s amazing isn’t it? How the internet reminds us that there are like-minded people out there who don’t take things for granted – even when we’re surrounded by the other kind of people day to day.
    Thank you for adding this to the discussion!! :)

  24. I absolutely love this post of yours!

    It’s wonderful that not only do you teach Buttercup to say thank you, but to say it and mean it.

    Basic common courtesies that so many people overlook these days.

    As someone with no kids, it gives me hope for the future when I see/hear parents like you and Geekdaddy being such mindful parents that truly care not only about your child, but the way in which you choose to raise your child.

    A heartfelt ‘thank you’ from me to you and Geekdaddy :-)

  25. @Kath – thank you… believe me, prior to having my daughter, I felt the same way about friends of ours who actively raised their kids to become well-mannered, articulate, interesting people… because there are so many more people these days who seem to think that parenting consists of DNA donation, birth, and food & clothing… which are essentials, but by no means comprehensive!

    Thanks for sticking with me and adding to my perspective! :)

  26. I so agree with this post. I am a big one with manners and honestly, I adhere to the midwestern belief that we can only do our children a service by teaching them good manners. I teach my children good manners so that other people will like them. So that teachers will think they are great. And so that their grandparents have something to talk about.
    My son’s kindergarten teacher actually thanked US for teaching him good manners. She told us that he is a joy to work with because he is so polite and kind. So you see, it goes both ways. And really, I have to give most of the credit to my kid.

  27. Our son is only 21 months old and we’ve taught him some sign language. One of the signs he knows the best is Thank You. What is cute about it is, the sign for Thank You kind of looks like you’re blowing a kiss. (for anyone who might not know what signing thanky you looks like, if you go here: it’s an ASL browser, click on ‘T’ at the bottom, then scroll to Thank You on the right)

    At his last appointment with the pediatrician, when we were leaving and saying our goodbyes, I said thank you, to which Lucian always signs “thank you” and I had to giggle because he was saying thank you to the ladies in the reception area and they all thought he was blowing them kisses and there was much awwwwing and giggling. I tried to explain to them that he was saying thank you. He’s so little, so it is hard to tell the difference when he is blowing you a kiss. Usually though, when he’s blowing a kiss, he’ll make the mmmmmuah, sound as he’s doing it. Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you that cute little story. I agree with all you said, it’s so important and often overlooked.

  28. just found your blog… I am a forty-something with young adult children….you will be thankful you took the time to teach your child!

    I am enjoying reading your blog posts….. nice to know there are more of “us” out there!

  29. Thanks for writing this.

    I’ve always been one to say thank you, you’re welcome, hello, goodbye, etc–and mean it. It drives me crazy when people don’t acknowledge one another or give each person the respect they deserve. I try to be gracious about it, but I get really irritated when people don’t acknowledge good manners and appreciation! I hate when people receive a thank you with a grunt–or worse–nothing at all. I think that’s precisely part of the reason so many people don’t acknowledge one another. It’s hard to be thankful when you’re met with indifference.

    It seems like it’s especially rampant in the business world. Everyone’s so “busy” that they fail to see that there are people working hard for them.

  30. @issycat – it is kind of a sad thing that just teaching children *basic* manners these days is so rare that it becomes outstanding – but I’m glad there are parents like you out there doing it too!!

    @TheMacMommy – that is so sweet!! and yeah, I love that the sign for thank you is what it is… it always just LOOKS right :)

    @Susan – it’s good to know that your kids were raised to be an example to those around them! :) Hope to look back someday on this period and say “aha! I didn’t miss it up too badly!” :)

    @Alma – I kind of get weird and when someone doesn’t acknowledge basic pleasantries like ‘thank you’ or ‘good morning’ I get even more effusive and determined to get them to rise to the occasion… I do understand your frustration tho, it’s one I share! :)

    Thanks all of you for your additional input! It really is appreciated!

  31. HI geekmommy, i’m a first time visitor. a couple of things i thought you might be interested in:
    1. my google reader is unable to locate your rss feed
    2. (i’m in denver too!)

  32. Hi Geekmommy

    New Twitter follower and first time reader here. Thank you for writing this insightful blog post.

    Every day when I leave my office I thank those I have interacted or worked with that day. When I first started doing it, I used to get wierd looks, now I get smiles and Your Welcomes.

    It’s great to make other people feel important.

  33. Very nice and insightful. That’s something we try to practice in our family as well. I have yet to thank somebody for taking the last piece of pie, though

  34. Thank you!!! You are so so right. Manners are so lacking today & I try to remind my kids all the time to appreciate everyone around them.

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