Remember when we were taught “the magic word”? That word was “please”. And it opened doors. We were also taught two other magical words: “Thank you.”
At the start of this grinding pandemic, new attention was paid to those on the front lines—in healthcare, government offices, and the supermarket. Even those at the other end of the phone—to answer our questions, make appointments, explain new ways to do things—were extended appreciation. Perhaps for the first time?
Lawn signs sprouted with thank you’s and we were reminded to do so verbally. While just a start, it gave both the giver and receiver a small lift at a dark time. Especially at a time human contact and interaction were dramatically reduced. We were inspired to thank others for small (and big) courtesies. It cheered us all. We noticed both key and bit players in our daily lives and expressed it in words. Not as bots, not because we “had to” as did as children, but because it made sense and made even small acts of kindness that much more satisfying.
I’m a financial organizer / daily money manager. Like many of my colleagues, I am back in my senior clients’ homes working face-to-face (mask-to-mask!) with them and their paperwork. One of my clients can be counted on to wrap up our visits together with, “Now I guess I have to pay you.” Not the most uplifting note to end on for either of us. I’m working on tweaking that.
Most times, I hear “Thank you”. Often it is (though sometimes it’s not) in those exact two words. A new client, a very recent widow, told me, “After you were here just an hour, I could feel the weight lift off my shoulders.” Another expressed her thanks when she said (and says each time we meet), “I enjoy working with you. We get so much done.” She is a long-retired financial professional and, while she is fading, I think our review of her mail and bill paying, and discussion of her taxes, banking, and other issues as they come up bring her back to her days at the office. I always tell her, “We’re a good team.” And I mean it.
Yes, “please” and “thank you” might be the little things. But I believe these little things are the grease (I’d rather call them the sweet cultured butter) of a community. And perhaps the start of something bigger. I’d like to see the regular expression of appreciation get back in style and I’m doing my part to make it so.
Next, I’m wondering what ever happened to “You’re welcome.” I’d say it’s time to dust off those two “magic words”. But that’s a subject for another day.
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