Looking Beyond …

thoughts and deliberations .. a theme is too restrictive

Simply Thank You



Saying thank you is easy, costs nothing, requires no philosophical or emotional angst and quite simply doesn’t happen enough.

As children we were taught to say “please” and “thank you” as a matter of course.  These were the basic standards of politeness to be uttered regardless of the levels of appreciation truly felt.  They were also considered to be the first (and perhaps only)words learned in any new language in preparation for communication on holidays abroad. Whilst I continue to hear parents here in the UK cajoling their young children into saying “thank you” whenever they are offered something, I have also come to realise that the obsession with the word is not universal, and we can often misinterpret our friends from other cultures where saying “thank you” is not the basic or required expression of appreciation.

Well yesterday, the 40acts team suggested that we focus on being thankful.  And so for the majority of the day, I made sure that I took every opportunity possible to say thank you.  Inevitably, this was most appreciated when accompanied by some sign that the word came not on its own, but together with some evidence of an underlying thankfulness.  I was reminded what good and very different habits both saying thank you and being thankful are.

One of the suggestions for the day was to write letters of thanks to people in responsibility or authority. Now I am someone who has had a grand training and upbringing in writing letters of complaint to those in authority, and I don’t generally have difficulty in finding causes for this. This aspect of the task remained undone therefore, what with being away from home and it being a busy day.  In any case, my own children will be the first to tell me that writing “thank you” letters is an outdated form of appreciation and that no-one writes them anymore.

Strangely though,  whilst sitting and unwinding at the end of the day with a whiskey in one hand and chocolate in the other, laughing with a group of leaders over tales of letters of complaint they had received over the years, there was a moment when I saw through the funny side  to the  pain of continual discouragement through such letters of complaint. There were good reasons to be thankful to my new friends, and in this moment I knew to whom my 40Acts thank you letter should be written.


Author: HelenSaying

Dipped a toe in social media - now learning to swim. Otherwise engaged in mid life career change, but this is no crisis. Views all my own and of the moment.

5 thoughts on “Simply Thank You

  1. There is a book called Dreaming in Chinese. The author, a linguist who lived in China, suggests that in fact ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are formal and to dispense with them is a compliment showing that your relationship has progressed to a closer one. It transformed my approach to international students. Sadly now government policy on immigration and post graduation working rights has ensured that all these lovely students now go to Australia and NZ..ho hum.


    • I think there are a lot of cultures where these words aren’t used in the same way we tend to expect. I know it to be the case for the Spanish. I wonder if your writer also felt that showing appreciation or being thankful in other ways is unnecessary in a close relationship? I agree that we are losing out on cultural richness and much else through discouraging students from staying on here for further studies and work.


  2. Having written a Thank You to the local Council I received a lovely little note back from the Mayor, thanking me for my “mot très sympathique et encourageant” It’s a good thing this 40 Acts, as little things make other people feel good! Like your lovely comments on my blog – thank you!


  3. Bedford hospital and the NHS in general have been coming in for a lot of stick lately and I won’t comment on the rightness or wrongness of that, but I have noticed that in a rare burst of positivity, the Times & Citizen have made a point of publishing letters thanking the hospital for its good care. Now you might argue that hospitals are there to give good care and should not require thanks but I like these letters, they are a welcome break from the constant chiding that forms a back-drop to our entire society these days and the more so I believe when read by the staff of hospitals and other institutions who more often than not, care deeply about their work and their patients and all too often see themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that old fashioned it may be to write thank-you letters but pointless it most certainly is not.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s