January 11: Let’s Celebrate “International Thank You Day”!

A sign by the door in my classroom reads, “Please and thank you are still magic words.” You truly can’t overestimate the power of a “thank you.”

We’re trained from a young age to thank the people who give us gifts. If someone gives us directions or picks up our keys when we drop them on the floor or holds the door for us, a thank you is a natural response. If our teacher brings us doughnuts on Friday morning (even if they’re not our favorite flavor, right kiddos?) we cheer and then thank her. These days, we even have entire appreciation weeks dedicated to thanking different groups of people.

And all of those “thank you’s” are incredibly appreciated and well deserved.

But what about the little “thank you’s”? The ones for people who are just doing their job, but their job is making your life a little easier, a little better? As a teacher, I always have a few students who thank me when I hand out papers. For some, it is probably a knee-jerk reaction, but when I hear that “thank you,” I hear, “Thank you for the work you put into making this assignment (and thank you for handing it out so I didn’t have to get up!).” When I see a student thank the media specialist who hands his book back to him after scanning it, I hear, “Thank you for sharing this book with me!” Do you realize how easy it is to sprinkle those “thank you’s” throughout your day?

What about the little “thank you’s” for the people who put a smile on your face without ever realizing it? I’m talking about thanking the friend you heard on the morning announcements who started your day with a smile when you heard her voice. Or the colleague who made a funny facial expression during a staff meeting that reflected exactly how you felt at that moment?

It isn’t so much about thanking them for that particular action but instead for adding a beam of sunlight to your day. When you see something beautiful in others, speak it, because everyone should feel like they matter to someone else.

One thing I’ve learned over time is that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Those “thank you’s,” whether big or small, can impact the trajectory of someone’s day in ways we never imagined. And the ripple of thankfulness can travel farther than we ever anticipated.

making a list of everything you are thankful for today and doing your best to thank the people who are in any way responsible for that happiness.

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