‘Young people are so ungrateful these days!’ I wonder if you have heard that phrase or one similar; maybe you have uttered it. Someone who I have a lot of respect for, once told me that one sign of a person’s maturity is their ability to say thank you. It is a small phrase that carries with it huge significance. It recognises the thought, work, generosity and kindness of others.
I recently received a thank you card through the post for a genuinely small act I had undertaken. The fact that the person took the time to write encouraged me so much; there is just something about hearing it. Many people will have experienced not receiving a thank you and know how that feels.
It is very easy to take for granted all that we have been given and to become so absorbed with self that we conclude that we have earned everything. I wonder if this is why my friend believes saying thank you is a sign of maturity? In saying thank you we acknowledge that we cannot do things by ourselves. Perhaps, in saying thank you, we concede our need of support.
The Bible speaks often about thankfulness, with God being the focus of that thanksgiving. ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.’ Psalm 107:1. Here the Psalmist is identifying God as the focus of his thanksgiving. Thankfulness is explained in the Bible almost as a way of life, something you do naturally.
I’m sure that I need to mature in my use of thank you, in my understanding of what I have received from God and in my gratitude to others. Maybe if we were better at modelling ‘thank you’, then the children and young people we work with would do the same.
Thank you for taking the time to read to the article, and get to the end!