It’s the little things in life that mean so much. Here are 3 simple but significant things a simple “thank you” from a child can mean:
- I am not entitled to what I have just received: An entitled child believes that they are entitled to what they want, when they want it. They believe that it is either your responsibility, or society’s responsibility to provide it for him – indefinitely and at their discretion. Furthermore, they believe that the things they want in life should be theirs – not because they have worked for them, planned for them, or sacrificed for them, but simply because they want them. A simple thank you from a child could mean, “I know that I am not entitled to what you have given me or done for me, and I appreciate it.”
- I understand the value of reciprocity: We often forget to teach our children the value of reciprocating – even our love. A child is never to young to learn that love should be a two-way street. It is not necessarily something a child can be made to do, but something that he should want to do anyway. At an early age, the reciprocation should be in the form of a simple “thank you.” A child should not be comfortable taking or accepting anything from anyone without thanking them for it. If they are comfortable not saying “thank you” to people, it is because we have allowed them to be. A child who does not say thank you will one day be a teenager, then an adult, who not only doesn’t say thank you, but also, wants ten times more than they are willing to give. They will never engender the goodwill and favor that comes from being thankful, and letting those who give to you know that you acknowledge their generosity or kindness.
- I have a grateful spirit: Gratefulness is a deep appreciation of kindness, or a benefit received from someone else. Gratefulness is a spirit. It is a personal quality that is learned, undervalued, and contagious. People remember encounters they have with grateful people. People are inspired to give again and to give more when blessed with a spirit of gratefulness. Let’s teach our children a spirit of gratefulness. The reality is that if we teach our children to take us or others for granted then they will. Once our children have learned the most basic ways to reciprocate love, i.e. by being thankful, it will be much easier to teach them the value of giving. A child with a grateful spirit realizes that people’s time, effort, and eventually, money, are valuable.
(c)Mervin A. Bourne, Jr. 2015