Friday, March 26, 2010

Thank you!

I have a beautiful picture above my computer. Golden sunbeams shine through dappled green leaves and a silver stream gurgles between moss-covered rocks. In the middle is a quote I love:

"Appreciation is a free gift that you can give to anyone you encounter - it is completely your choice. And each time you choose to thank someone for a job well done, you are making the world a better place." Barbara Glanz

That is so true. We all like to be thanked for whatever we have done, even if we don't realize it at the time. My husband loves being praised and thanked for mowing the lawn - something that has been his job since we were married. (Except when he was flying to England to sit alert every other month for a couple of years. I got a new lawnmower for Mother's Day so I could take on that duty.) But I thank him for keeping our yard and gardens beautiful, and praise him in front of others so they will appreciate his hard work, too. He loves it and is more willing to go the extra mile to make things special.
He thanks me for preparing his lunch and dinner every day, and I appreciate him acknowledging I do put a lot of time and effort into making nutritious and hopefully delicious meals. He doesn't say thank you for doing the laundry, but it's only because he doesn't think about it. I thank him (silently) for NOT doing my laundry if he sees a batch ready to go into the washer that hasn't made it there yet. :)
One or two members of the bishopric will turn before they leave the stand as I'm playing postlude and say "Thank you for the music today." They don't have to do that, but I appreciate it, though I certainly don't expect it.
Two of my daughters and my son are very vocal about saying thank you for gifts or favors or babysitting or whatever, even to raising them properly. It makes me want to do more. Our oldest, our adopted daughter, would choke and probably expire if the words thank you ever left her lips. Unfortunately, her three girls never hear those words so they don't know how to say them either. Needless to say, after sending them very generous Christmas and birthday presents for years, I put a p.s. in their Christmas card that held their check this year. "If I don't receive an acknowledgment that you have received this, there will be no more coming." What fun to receive a thank you from each of the girls (not my daughter) thanking me.
Every year at Christmas and other holidays, I stick a treat in the mail box for our mail lady as a thank you for her service. We've had the same one for probably 15 years. Apparently not many people do that as she always writes a little note of sincere gratitude.
I make it a habit to thank clerks and baggers at the grocery store, sales people in retail, and waitresses in restaurants. I think they really appreciate it, as so many patrons apparently take their service for granted. I know it makes my day when someone that doesn't really need to acknowledges something I've done, even if it was my job.
I recall one incident that probably makes me more aware of this "thank you" business. We were moving the next day, and in the middle of all the last minute packing of the car, etc., the executive secretary called and reminded me that I needed to be at ward council meeting that evening. I hadn't been released as YW president, but since I was bodily moving out of the ward in 12 hours, I hadn't planned on going. But I washed my face, changed clothes and raced to the chapel which was a 30 minute drive. We conducted the business, said the closing prayer, and the bishop never even looked at me the entire meeting, even when it was my turn to discuss the business. After the meeting, every other person in that room said good-bye, it was fun working with you, have a great life and thanks for coming tonight when you were so busy. I left with my head spinning. What had I done - or hadn't done - that the bishop (whose family we were close to) didn't even say farewell and thanks for your efforts?
Now, I try to never leave a person wondering where they stand. A quick e-mail after someone has spoke in sacrament meeting or given a good lesson, or performed a musical number, or offered a service, or been caught doing a good thing - all these are opportunities to show appreciation for their efforts and their example.
After our RS birthday celebration last week, I sent a quick one-line e-mail to all those who participated on the program (which was delightful!) and told them how much I enjoyed their performance (or their cake) or whatever. I had to replies saying thanks for my notes. They were happy to know it was appreciated.
What an easy thing to do to bring a little sunshine into someone's world! Thank you for bringing love and sunshine into my world. I appreciate you, your words of encouragement, your prayers, and your sharing experiences that help me realize I'm not alone in all of this craziness. Thanks!


Cheri J. Crane said...

Thank you, Lynn, for a wonderful reminder of the importance of expressing gratitude. ;)And thank you for being a gracious example to us all.

Stephanie Black said...

What a wonderful reminder, Lynn; thank you! It does make such a difference both to ourselves and to others when we show our gratitude.