Everyone has a favourite phrase or word that makes them happy or inspires them. I have one as well. It is the unification of two words chosen at random that, when used, endorses your humility and signifies the importance of the other’s service. It is the only word that brings about a balance among the egos of two people involved. That word is ‘Thank You’. Coupled with a smile, it is one of the most beautiful words in the world.
In school I was taught the three magic words; please, sorry and thank you. ‘Please’ is a word that I don’t regard as magic. I’ve seen it used as a foreword by those in power to suppress the meek. This word packaged with a sad face can cause a lot of adversity to the person receiving it. On the other hand, when uttered with honesty, it is almost impossible to refuse the request. Please, therefore, is a double-edged sword.
The worst of the three magic words is ‘Sorry’. It is used so often that its meaning is worthless. Sorry is supposed to resolve all conflicts but it isn’t so. Sorry is rarely attached to remorse and is thrown around for the sake of nothing. You hit someone, say sorry and hit them again. Makes no sense at all. Plus it is seldom used with a person of inferior standing. Would you really apologize to a labourer or maid? Sorry is the epilogue to bad behaviour. A famous saying I’ve heard, “Sorry doesn’t make a dead man alive”.
“Thank You”, on the other hand, is an expression that adds worth to service. It conveys that we are grateful to someone who has helped us. It tells the recipient that they are or what they do is important. Yet, I have rarely seen it used. Sometimes I get asked, “What was the need to say thank you? He/She was just doing their job.” Imagine you were in a thankless job. Would you still do it with the same loyalty or dignity? That’s the answer I give. We should thank everyone who assists or helps us. Any service we receive should be acknowledged. Thank you is a humbling symbiotic statement that shows that neither party is inferior or superior.
This is the first thing we should teach our kids, peers, subordinates or anyone. To appreciate and applaud service, big or small, is the first step to becoming a better person. But first, we should pursue the habit ourselves for we need to practice what we intend to preach.