Do you have words of wisdom people have given you over the years that has influenced you? Not just the “say please and thank you” kind of stuff – those words that maybe your favorite aunt told you right before you went to college or something you read that has never left your mind. I mean, if you think of the millions of conversations a person has in their lifetime or the countless things one has read, isn’t funny how a few of them just stick in your head?
Do you remember the “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” posters? I know many of the things on that list were good and sentimental, but you know the one that stuck out to me? Flush. (Ironic don’t you think? Especially considering the business I am in? God has a sense of humor.)
When I was teaching school in Kansas I once had a poster above my chalkboard (yes, I am that old…I had a chalkboard not a white board…) anyway, it stated “Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?” One particular day, I was being a bit grumpy. It had been a busy week – grades were due, I was working on my master’s classes and had three papers due, and I was low on sleep. In the middle of class, one of my more ornery students raised his hand and when I called on him he asked, “Miss Newell, is your attitude worth catching today?” Talk about a wake up call!! Ever since that day, I have tried to be aware of how my attitude affected others…this isn’t to say I don’t fail, but I do try!
I remember as a kid my dad used to tell me (on many occasions…) “Jaime, make sure you always thank people. It is so seldom that people say thank you, but they are always there ready to complain. Be the person that thanks.” As a kid, I just thought he was trying to teach me good manners, but the older I get the more I see WHY my dad said this so often to me. You see, he was a small business owner. He knew from dealing with people their tendency to complain more and thank less…if at all.
When I was teaching, I so appreciated the parents who would thank me for the work I was doing for their student. Yes, I was paid to do what I did, but nothing makes a girl feel better than to have someone recognize her time and effort. And honestly, who isn’t this way? Don’t you loved to be thanked too? My son thanked me yesterday for making supper. After I checked his temperature to make sure he wasn’t coming down with something extremely serious, I hugged him! It was so nice for my kid to be thankful for the ordinary. And, it made me feel like a million bucks! When was the last time you were thanked for something you did? Didn’t it make you feel great? So if we know this about ourselves, and how great it feels when we are on the receiving end of the thanks, why don’t we dish it out more to others?
This last week we had our furnace replaced. It had been limping along for the last couple of years and finally went kaput. We called our heater guy and he got it replaced right before some serious cold weather hit Nebraska. Though many may think me nuts, (and I can tell you…many already do…) I called him up about 4 days after he installed it and thanked him for my heat! Now, I know I paid him, but he didn’t have to work me in so quickly. And, if he hadn’t worked me in, I would be one very cold Pumper’s Wife!!
This being the month of Thanksgiving, I am trying to think of things I am thankful for. I am thankful for words of wisdom that have helped me along my 38 years. I am also thankful for many things and I have in my life I take for granted every day. I hope you’ll help me in this – not just for November, but all year long. What are you thankful for?