While working in the gift shop at “the caverns” yesterday, I encountered a young man (9 or 12 or something) that made quite an impression on me. What did he do? He thanked his parents for bringing him to see the caverns and for the things they bought him in the shop.
Now, that may not seem like a big deal. After all, it’s simple good manners to say thank you. I’ve waited on hundereds of parents buying their kids stuff in the gift shop this summer though, and this is the first time I remember hearing the child say thank you. I’m sure there were others that I have forgotten, but all the same, it’s a rare thing for this to happen. More often I hear kids whining about not getting the item they really wanted, or wanting more, or while seeming happy about the purchase not saying a word of thanks.
When the transaction was completed I looked at the boy and said that I needed to tell him something. “I’m really proud of you!”, I began. “You said thank you to your parents and not many kids to that. I’m impressed! You’re a good kid. Keep up the good work.” A huge smile lit his face as I talked to him.
We all take so much for granted, children and adults alike. We forget to say thanks and don’t take the time to use good manners. As parents and teachers we need to be grateful ourselves and voice that gratitude, and gently teach the children in our care to do the same. Once they’ve been taught, we should expect good manners and hold one another accountable. Not a big deal, but it sure would make the world a better place.