The need to say “Please” when we ask people for favors, to say “I am sorry” when we do others wrong and to say “Thank You” when others render us kind actions out of goodwill are to me the most valuable lessons we have received in our early childhood. We may not be aware then but very young kids that we were, these lessons provided us an introduction to one of life’s most precious truths. As we learned to say “Please”, “I am sorry.” and “Thank you”, in our young minds, we were slowly being transported to the realizations that the world is not about “Me” nor “You” nor “Them” but about “Us”. We were beginning to learn that we could only live our lives with and not independent from others.
To say “Thank you” is to humbly acknowledge that we can not go on with life without having others see us through. But more than recognition of our need to have others fill in the holes in our lives, “Thank you” serves as a blue print on how our lives should be lived.
In the indigenous culture in which I was reared, we would not say “You are welcome.” as a way of retort when someone would offer his gratitude. Roughly translated in English, we would answer by saying, “Go live it in your life”.
“Thank you” is a way of life among my people. It would not have any meaning unless we let the good done for us and for which we were thankful, permeate our lives. We must not only act the “good” out so as to be better persons than we already are. We must also pass this “good” along. Viewed along this line, “Thank you” calls on us to be co-responsible in building a more humane world.
But it is so sad. An epitaph to “Thank you.” as a way of life may have long been written. Even the culture which had nurtured me and for which I had always been proud of is now dying if not already dead in the embrace of materialism. Everyone seems to be eager to don the cloak of the “Material Girl”. This world is fast becoming a “Me” world. The “You” and “Them” are now just simply chattels we could use or discard depending on whether we find them useful in propelling us to the heights of our material aspirations or what we believe to be successful life.
I know I would not be there to see it happen. I could only hope for everyone’s sake that a new age would dawn where once again “Thank you” is the way to live.