When my grandson was four years old, he was often at my house. He was sometimes challenged by the words “please” and “thank you.” I remember that one day he declared, “Grandma, I need some chocolate milk” I replied, “I didn’t hear the magic word that goes with that,” he reluctantly and begrudgingly added, “please.”
“You know, Jack,” I said, knowing the answer before I asked, “I’m sure your mom expects you to say please at her house, doesn’t she?” After a big sigh, he declared, “She wants to hear it all the time and it gives me a headache.” The wisdom of a four year old!
They are simple words—Please. Thank you.
They are no less important now for us adults than they were when we were children.
In our fast paced, electronically oriented society it is easy to forget common courtesy. At times it seems that we’ve entered an era of rudeness where some think others should meet their demands quickly and without question—and without showing any courtesy. I have heard people talking with sales clerks, servers in a restaurant, employees and even spouses in ways no human should address another. A smile and “Please” would have given them what they were demanding much quicker and without the negative reaction their demands generated.
They work for bosses
If you’re a boss and you wonder why 1) you have high employee turnover and 2) others seem to avoid you, think about how you treat them. When you expect them to go “above and beyond” do you say “Please” and do you say “thank you” when they finish?
I married a politician who had a hard time thanking his staff and volunteers who often worked long, hard hours in his behalf. “They should know that if I don’t tell them differently that I appreciate what they’ve done.” “No, they each need to hear ‘thank you’ every day for the work they do.” But he didn’t hear me and certainly didn’t heed my advice. Does it surprise you that after a couple of terms, he was no longer in politics?
When you’re tired from a hard day, don’t you think your employees might be tired as well? A “Thank you for the great job today” brings more relief than anything else you could give—a nice bonus now and then doesn’t hurt either. People won’t stay on a job where it seems they are never appreciated—even if the pay is good.
Bosses need to hear them
The flip side of that is that the boss needs to hear those magic words, too. We each need to be treated with respect or as Arethra Franklin sings, R-E-S-P-E-C-T and courtesy.
Rudeness never works! Kindness and courtesy bring you rewards that you may not even be aware of at the time.
Try it: “Please, would you . . . ?” “Thank you so much.” Say these words with a smile. You will probably receive a smile in return and a “You’re so very welcome.” You may start a chain reaction of courtesy that will last all day and reach people you don’t even know.
It even works in texting: “Pls” and “thx” or “ty” or “tyvm.” We have the words. It’s up to us to use them. It will make a big difference to you and to those with whom you interact.
And about Jack’s headache? I think it went away as soon as he drank his chocolate milk. The Oreo didn’t hurt, either.
TYVM for reading this to the end. I hope your day is wonderful.