When I was a kid…

  • If someone opened or held a door for you, you thanked them.
  • If someone handed you so much as a glass of water, you thanked them.
  • If someone gifted you—even with something you hated—you thanked them, not with a phone call, email or text, but with a handwritten note.

Thoughtfulness was in the air and gratitude, too, for things both big and small. My parents made sure that I followed suit, corralling my big sister and me in the living room every Friday night. Yes, every Friday night for what they called The Penny Game. The rules were simple: Answer a question correctly and get yourself a penny, as in…

  • “What do you say when you need a favor?”
  • “What do you say when you’re given something?”
  • “What do you say when someone is kind to you?”

And on and on it went, along with spelling questions, easy ones like circus and hello, and not so easy gems like Mississippi and their oft-repeated pneumonia.

And it all stuck. Not only am I good speller, saying “thank you” is a thing with me. I even thank my dog Jenny every which way, and she’s deaf!

Laughable, I suppose, in these not so civil, “I deserve” days. Fact is, 95% of Americans believe we have a civility problem. As educator and CEO Ray Williams also discovered:

  1. 81% of us believe uncivil behavior is leading to an increase in violence.
  2. 70% think the Internet encourages uncivil behavior.
  3. 71% believe civility is worse compared to a few years ago.

What constitutes civility? Respect and politeness/good manners come to mind, starting with a simple, “Thank you.”

It matters and not just to me…

Back on July 4, 2021, January became National Thank You Month, thirty whole days devoted to being grateful. Powerful words that imply approval, one of life’s biggest motivators, the force often behind hard work, achievement, and giving back. Power words that open doors and give rise to civility and smiles all around.

So, as you dismantle the Christmas tree or put away the menorah, go old school with me and give thanks often to loved ones and helpful strangers, alike. As Gabriel Andreas reminds us, “The more we look for things to be grateful for, the more there will be.”

~ With thanks for your ongoing support and wishes for happiness and good health in 2023, Carol