face as he utters them are what touch my heart! That’s what true appreciation is.
Most of us teach our children to say thank you, but few of us truly understand its power. Showing appreciation is not only etiquette, but it is a responsibility especially during the holidays.
I was privileged to have been in the audience when Florence Littauer was speaking on “Silver Boxes.” It’s what she calls her philosophy on appreciation and edification. She quotes Ephesians 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” She says that words are like a gift we give others that come in little silver boxes with bows on top. This is how we should show proper appreciation.
Many of us remember to say thank you when we get a gift, but often forget to show others appreciation for the things they do for us on a daily basis. And just how much appreciation does our “Thank You” show?
“Gee thanks” isn’t much of a Thank You. “Gee thanks” is what is interpreted when you say…”Thanks for the gift Aunt Millie!” or even “I love it!” Even if your voice is excited and your face lights up when you say it, it can be empty. Why? Because for Aunt Millie to feel appreciated, she has to know what exactly you appreciate: The thought behind it? The money she spent? The time it took? The trouble she went to? And what exactly did you like about the gift: The features? The time it will save you?
A proper thank you is one in which you show as much time and trouble to give thanks as the person did in choosing your gift. Consider this: “Oh Aunt Millie! This is so generous of you! I can hardly believe it! This is a beautiful sweater and just the perfect color to go with the dress I was going to wear for my interview! Oh, it feels so soft and I just love how it fits!” How much more appreciated does Aunt Millie feel now? Notice you haven’t even said the words “thank you”. It isn’t the words you speak; it’s the message it conveys that is important.
And how often should you thank Aunt Millie for this sweater? MORE THAN ONCE! I make it a point to wear my gift when I go visit the giver, call them on the phone when I am using it again, mention how I used it the other day and what a pleasure it was that I had it! NOW how appreciated does Aunt Millie feel?
What about all the thank yous that go unsaid to the people in our lives who do little things for us day after day? How many of us thank our mothers for raising us or our fathers for working so hard all those years we were growing up-not just on Mother’s and Father’s Day and not just a card or gift. How many of us have told our parents exactly what they did that we appreciate? Details! A Mother’s Day card once a year is an obligation. A letter or conversation regaling them with the details of what you appreciated about them over the years is true appreciation!
Is appreciation limited to our family? Many of us never thank our friends or associates for what they mean to us or do for us each day. How many of us belong to online communities? How many times have you emailed the owner of the list or site to thank them for all the behind the scenes work they do every day that allows you to participate, fellowship and learn?
Take your appreciation public. How much more appreciated do you think Annie would feel if you posted a public message of appreciation for all her hard work behind the scenes at your favorite Yahoo group?:
“I want to thank Annie for all the wonderful articles she posts each week! I have learned a lot, and I have used many of these articles as homeschool lessons for my children. Annie must work so hard to create all these fun activities, and I want to thank her for donating her time and all the prizes and certificates she has given away over the years! This group has been such a blessing to me, and I have had so much fun as a member. Thanks, Annie!”
A little thank you goes a long way! If Annie was feeling a little frustrated by the time the group takes to maintain, I bet she has renewed vitality after your post! On the job, employers can get more out of their employees by showing them a little appreciation now and again. You can create a closer relationship with your family and friends by showing them how much you appreciate what they do for you.
So this Christmas season, why don’t you give the gift of true appreciation. The most appreciated gift is appreciation. It’s free to give and priceless to get! Thank you for reading along with my thoughts today!
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication. Her Christian and humorous approach to communication skills has made her a sought-after speaker. JoJo’s articles have appeared in various homeschool magazines and websites such as Dr. Laura.com. Her Say What You Mean curricula is endorsed by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and her eBook, Say What You Mean When You’re in Business, has been used by direct sales leaders and small business owners
alike. For more information, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com