originally posted: November 2014
Last week I blogged about the giving half of Thanksgiving. This week my focus in how we say thank you. Many of you spend some time on Thanksgiving Day reflecting on the wonderful people in your life for whom you are grateful. You also may have expressed gratitude for living in freedom, being free from want, and for having the basic necessities of life which too many people do not have.
As we return to work, consider how often you say “thank you” or have the words said to you. Most of the time, the words are tossed off automatically. It’s a matter of being courteous. While good manners are always important, heartfelt, sincere thanks can make a difference in how someone views their day. Become conscious of how you react when you receive a true thank you and what it means when you express your gratitude to others.
During my time as a high school librarian, I was thanked often by teachers and by students. Most often it was of the automatic variety, but I know I went through the day with a smile on my face when a student specifically thanked me, saying they got a good grade because of the help I gave them or a teacher let me know how much she appreciated my going out of my way to do her a favor.
With this in mind, my Thanksgiving resolution (I have just created a new tradition – join me!) is to give more mindful, specific thanks. In the supermarket, I thanked the young woman checking me out for the care she gave in balancing the weight in my shopping bags. Her face lit up with pleasure. That, in turn, was a gift for me. I thought I lived a conscious life, but I have discovered there is always a way to take it further.
Our students don’t always tell us of the burdens they are carrying from home situations, complications of friendships, or school pressures. Teachers don’t reveal everything either. The library is often the sanctuary where the whole school population can feel safe and derive comfort. Add to the welcoming environment you create by becoming aware of when and how you say thank you.