Recently we went out to lunch with a friend who was complaining that his relatives showed no gratitude for things he gives them. They never say thank you even after he confronts them about it. I have had relatives do the same thing to me. I've wondered if they ever received a check or a gift that I had sent. After months of waiting for a thank you but never getting one, I ask them if they got it and I’m told in an off hand way that they had. No thank you was attached to that statement.
I remember growing up and my mother making me write thank you notes whenever someone gave me a gift. I hated doing it but it was mandatory. As I got older I tried to make sure I did that but now mainly do it through emails and text messages. My next door neighbor was really great about sending little thank you notes whenever I did something for her. I wish I could say I was as good as her but I wasn’t. Even though I don’t mail thank you notes any more, I make sure the person knows how much appreciate the gift.
In our discussion, we felt like it was this younger generation that seemed to be ungrateful. It seems like they just expect things and don’t feel like they need to acknowledge or thank the person who gave them something. Maybe they weren't taught this at a young age. I remember when I was little and people would ask me what the magic word was (please) and what did I say after someone gave me something (thank you). This was even taught when trick-or-treating.
I wonder if we do a disservice to our students by not teaching them how important this is.
Here are some activities that I think that I would start doing with my students, no matter what age they are.
· Discuss the word appreciation and when we would show our appreciation for something.
· What are ways to show appreciation to someone?
· Why is showing appreciation important?
· How do people feel when someone appreciates them or their work?
· Practice writing sample thank you notes.
I know I need to do a better job at thanking people for the things that they do for me. I’m going to dust off my notecards and start writing!
Do you feel that young people today are ungrateful? How would you go about teaching them how to be thankful? Please share.