I've been reading Lynn Truss's book Talk to the Hand; it is about modern manners and the disintegration of polite exchange between human beings. She contends that we establish personal boundaries by being polite. The chapters I just finished were about Thank You and I am Sorry.
My thoughts: I wish I was better at writing Thank You cards/notes. I love getting them, but I never remember to send them. I have 100+ cards in a drawer ready for use but I always forget. I try really hard to say thank you in person, face to face. I also try to show my gratitude in other way, like returning the favor or kindness or by random acts of kindness (to show my gratitude of life). Grateful people are happy people because the appreciate the small things and happy is contagious.
Sometimes it is hurtful when I do something really big and hard and the person doesn't say thank you. Every time I babysat as a teenager, if the kids were older, I would clean the kitchen and help the kids pick up their rooms. People like to come home to clean rather than chaos. As an adult, I decided the same was true for vacationing friends. My sister cleans house when she dog sits for us. It's nice. I love it. I do it for others. When they don't notice or say thank you, it hurts a little. I have to ground myself and remind the inner me that I didn't do it for the reward of a vocal "thank you", I did it to be nice.
However, I want my daughter to say thank you. I want her to learn gratitude and understand the work that goes in to seemingly small kindnesses.
I also want her to say I am Sorry and mean it. I am constantly apologizing for everything to people, "Sorry, I talked your ear off," "Sorry, I vomited on you," "Sorry, I didn't see you there!" AND the big, hard one, "I am sorry I hurt you or your feelings." This week had the realization that I can count on my fingers the times that someone has apologized TO me. Friends and family that is. Why is taking personal responsibility for your own actions so hard? Why is acknowledging the affect those actions/choices have on others so hard?
I started paying attention to how people apologize: "I am sorry you are hurt by what I said," is not the same as "I'm sorry I hurt you." or "I am sorry I said that."
Then I heard this, "Be the change you want to see...."
Ok. Here goes.