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Teach Your Kids, Say Thank You

Author : Francis David

Thanking works because it conveys one of our most basic emotions: gratitude. Gratitude is not a concept. It’s a genuine emotion, which cannot be expected or extorted. You either feel it or you don’t. But when someone does something nice for you, they expect gratitude – and they think less of you for withholding it. Just think about the last time you gave someone a gift. If they forgot to thank you for it, how did you feel about them? Fine human being? Or ungrateful s.o.b?

Gratitude is a complex emotion – and therefore can be complicated to express. It is frequently construed as docile behavior, slightly embarrassing. This may explain why parents must constantly remind their children to say, “Thank you.” It is one of the last and hardest things to teach naturally rebellious kids. One other thing: Saying “Thank you” is a crucial feature of etiquette and being well-mannered. As with most rules of etiquette, it can become mechanical; but it doesn’t have to be truthful. We use the phrase all day long without thinking, often as a form of punctuation in conversation. For example, we’ll say “thank you” on a phone call to end the conversation. We may not be aware that “thank you” in this circumstance really means “We’re done here. Now please stop talking.” But such is the polite power of “Thank you” that people always obey.

The best thing about saying “Thank you” is that it creates closure in any potentially volatile conversation. What can you say after someone thanks you? You can’t squabble with them. You cannot try to prove them wrong. You cannot trump them or get angry or pay no heed to them. The only response is to utter two of the most gracious, inviting, and sweet words in the language: “You are welcome.” It’s music to anyone’s ears. Get used to saying “Thank you.”

Here’s a task to get you started. No matter how far along you are in your life, think about your career. Who are people most responsible for your success? Write down the first twenty five names that come to your mind. Ask yourself, “Have I ever told them how grateful I’m for their help?” Before you do anything else, write to each of these people a thank you note. This isn’t just an exercise in making yourself and other people feel food (although that is a meaningful curative). Writing a thank you note forces you to face up to the humbling fact that you have not achieved your success alone. You had help along the way.

Academic instruction isn’t the only responsibility teachers have in today’s classrooms. More and more, teachers are being called on to teach students about values ... things like making good decisions, the showing of respect, taking responsibility, choosing friends, and having a positive attitude. It’s a responsibility that could be overwhelming, considering the limited hours available in a school day, the number of kids in the classroom, and the diversity of backgrounds and personalities each child represents.

Character Education by Just Do The Right Thing" is a practical and powerful tool that equips educators to tackle values training with confidence.

By: Francis David

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Francis helps parents, administrators and teachers learn about Character Education and how the Just Do The Right Thing Program can help kids of all levels find success both in and outside the Classroom.

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Tags:   Character Education, Better Place to Live, Teach your Kids

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Submitted : 2010-10-02    Word Count : 562    Times Viewed: 306