No Gratitude Assumes Ingratitude.


This note was found at my grandma's house last week while flipping through an old Encyclopedia. It was written by me at age 9, and had apparently been tucked away for safe keeping. And now, seeing it thirty years later, I find myself wondering if gratitude has become a lost art.

Time and time again, I hear the generations ahead of me shake their head at the folks younger than them, wondering why they've never received a thank you note or at the very least, a phone call. "In our days", they say, "you could never get away without writing a thank you note. What's wrong with these kids?"

Unfortunately, I have to confess that my outward expression of gratitude does not always mirror my inward appreciation. I am always both humbled and grateful when someone serves me, gives me a gift, or goes out of their way to let me know they care about me. But I don't always tell them.

I assume they already know how thankful I am. Or, I'm too embarrassed by their generosity toward me to feel like I can reciprocate appropriately, so I do and say nothing. And worse yet, I get lazy and forget.

Here's the problem: When I neglect to say thank you, the person on the other end assumes that I'm not thankful.The person on the giving end is left in the dark. They are wondering if I received the gift, did I hate the gift, do I hate them? That person has absolutely no idea what I'm thinking and feeling if I don't tell them. And if I never acknowledge the gift, it will appear to them as ingratitude.

The other person is not looking to get their ego stroked, they just want to know they were appreciated in their gesture toward you. Don't you want that for yourself when you give someone a gift?

So next time you receive a gift, a card, or a helping hand, do the other person a favor and say thank you.