I’ve been thinking about thanking. I say “Thank You” at least a dozen times each day. I thank my wife for reminding me to pick up my house keys on my way out the door (she is so thoughtful). I thank the lady who holds the door open for me at the post office (she is not so self-absorbed as to let the door slam in my face). I thank Liz, our office manager, for being in the office early (she is thinking ahead). Then I make a phone call and thank a donor for his $500,000 gift to Coastal Community Foundation. I use the same two words in each of these “Thank You’s” but I can’t possibly mean the same thing each time, can I?
If we start with the basics of why you say “Thank You” everything will make sense.
We thank people we want to encourage to do that, whatever “that” is, again. We encourage their thoughtfulness, their thinking about more than just themselves, their willingness to put themselves in our place or the place of others, by thanking them. We thank people for thinking.
If you need any more evidence for this way of thinking, consider that our word “Thank” is derived from the Middle English word for “Think.”
So back to that donor who gave $500,000 to create an endowment fund at Coastal Community Foundation. The “Thank You” in that instance means “I encourage you to think about the needs in this community again.”
Thanking is contagious. It encourages each of us to think about others. Thoughtful “Thank You’s” through time create a community of thoughtful, thankful people.
Think about it. Or better yet, thank about it.