A month ago, my kids and I went out to breakfast at a popular local restaurant to celebrate my youngest's birthday before school. We were eating and conversing when the waiter came by and picked up some plates we were done with. My older son instinctively said thank you to the waiter as he took a dish away. The waiter got a look of surprise on his face and said, “Wow! Great manners!” It shocked me that the waiter was so taken back by simple basic manners from a teenager. Since this waiter was training a new employee that day, I'm sure he'd waited on lots of tables himself before our meal. I hate to think that is just so rare for him to get a thank you from a teenager that he would actually comment on it.
My ex-husband and I did the initial teaching with our kids when they were toddlers and preschoolers to help them to learn to say please and thank you. Since then, we haven't had to do anything. I am sure they picked up on the fact that they are supposed to thank waiters based on the modeling of my ex-husband and I always doing the same. For us, it's just common courtesy to say thank you to someone who helps you. I'm glad my kids have absorbed this habit. I wish the same was true for all other people out there.
Today, consider going out of your way to thank someone who does something simple for you. The act may seem small, but the niceties we exchange can make a huge difference in someone's life. Feeling like someone appreciates you is really important. Gratitude is a simple way to make the world a better place.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC