Last Friday night I had the opportunity to be a part of the sophomore class outing to laser tag at First Avenue mall. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed “killing” some of my students as much as I am sure they enjoyed taking out the director. When the night was over something caught my attention. Throughout the night, the high school students said thank you to me and the other sponsor a number of times. In fact, I thought back through the night and counted no less than 13 times that a student or students said thank you to me for being a part of their evening. And this is not an unusual occurrence. As a teacher every day when I am done teaching the class, I have at least one student thank me. Every day.
I have said this before but it bears repeating again, we have great students at Dalat. Having student’s thank you for teaching a class or running up to help you carry something is not normal in most schools, yet it happens all the time at Dalat. Our students are one of the big reasons why Dalat is such a special place.
So why are those two little words, “thank you” so important? Part of the reason is that it is a deliberate act. By the time, the person says it, we already have been helped or given what we need and yet we purposefully take a few seconds to express our thanks to that person. Because of this saying thank you shows the person our gratitude, appreciation, and most importantly our respect. It shows the person, sometimes even a stranger, that you do not take them for granted and acknowledge that they matter. With those two simple words you can make a huge difference in the life of people you interact with throughout the day.
Being grateful and appreciative is something that can be “caught” and when modeled to people they start to do it as well. I think this is why we see it in our students at Dalat. When the younger students see the upper classmen saying thank you they also begin to do this and it becomes part of the culture (which is different than most ad more and more cultures are showing less and less respect and common courtesy).
Because those two little words can have such a positive impact on someone I would encourage us to go out of our way to do it for the many people around us that are often forgotten or taken for granted by most people. Say thank you to the guard who opens the gate for you, the cleaning lady who takes out the trash, the store clerk who helps you find the product you need. When you take that couple of seconds you acknowledge to them that they matter and that you respect them.