I’ve always been a big believer in good manners. As a child I’m sure at times I felt aggravated by being constantly reminded to begin and end every request with a please or a thank you, yet now it has become such an unconscious act, that the only time I give it thought, is in their absence, either by my own erroneous omission, or more commonly by others. I have come to realize that a ‘please’ or a ‘thank you’, in particular goes a really long way, rippling into the lives of all those that it touches, filtering into their day, and in so doing, streaming into other people’s days as well.
It is a value that I have endeavored to instill into my own children from a very early age, and have not been shy in telling visiting children the same, much to my children’s annoyance. Yet I have seen how important these simple etiquettes are in influencing people’s perception of the type of person you may be, providing the first and often most formative impression of someone, whether in a personal or professional context. Elevated to an even higher spiritual level, a ‘thank you’ forms a connection between people founded in humility, where an exchange occurs and the ‘other’ is acknowledged, even if it has been in a very small or seemingly trivial way.
I am reminded of this regularly, especially when preparing for the two cleaners that grace our house every couple of weeks, helping me maintain some kind of semblance of order and cleanliness in our home. Without their regular presence the house would be filled with grotty paw marks from le pooch, who with his long shaggy woolen coat disperses a smattering of leaves and grass cuttings everywhere, adding to the general dirt, dust, grime and chaos that a household of four brings. I consider myself very fortunate and privileged to have cleaners and it appears that the fan club is mutual, as on a regular basis my cleaners in their thick French accents tell me that I’m remarkable; really special, and you know why? Drum roll please… in the note with instructions that I leave for them at the bottom I scrawl two words; thank you. Sometimes I add a smiley face and on occasion when I’m feeling particularly guilty for leaving them an even bigger mess than usual, ie not cleaning up adequately in preparation for them to clean (a hotly debated issue in my household) I may leave out a couple of chocolates. At times when I have returned home to a house that looks so neat and clean that I fear I may have stumbled into someone else’s vogue-inspired house, I call or text them, uttering those two magical words again. Radical heh! Bemusedly, this then leads to a chain of thank you events, whereby one of the cleaners calls to thank me for thanking them, invariably when I’m speaking on the phone or somehow the phone has fallen to the depths of my handbag, which means I then feel obligated to return her thank you call, hoping that I’ll get her voice, as opposed to a voice message, so the whole thank you business, as nice as it might be, is not perpetuated any longer.
Each time this happens I get a twinge of sadness in knowing that displaying appreciation is something that does not happen nearly often enough. Many people seemingly save these platitudes for the ‘big’ things, holding back from offering to the many small and unordinary daily events that transpire day in, day out. I know in the case of my cleaners, they really try harder to please, knowing that their efforts are appreciated. In a world where so many things are taken for granted, taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate these small acts helps transform the ordinary into that little bit extra ordinary. Practicing what we have been taught and reminded about countless times as young children leads to days brimming with things that we are grateful for, rich in exchanges with people who feel valued, and assists in the spreading of that feeling of satisfaction that a simple thank you brings. So rather than wait for the ‘big’ things to appreciate, begin peppering your day with micro-moments of gratitude, starting now. On that note, I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to read this blog, I really appreciate it and wish you a lovely day.
In love and laughter