Column: The power of a thank you


Photo credit: Graphic Illustration by Molly Solowitz

This graphic illustrates a conversation between two people, and how the verbal affirmation of a thank you or gratitude, in general, can transcend relationships and impact the lives of others. By saying thank you and actively demonstrating kindness, we are able to show those around us that we acknowledge their efforts and care for them deeply.

By Marissa Gendy, Columnist

A large part of my identity is based on the way I view the world around me. At a young age, I learned the importance of reading others: their emotions and their mannerisms. I learned the way others speak and laugh. A slight fluctuation in the tone of a friend’s voice sets off alarms in my head. The most significant thing I learned was the power of language. The way in which the words “I love you” or a mere “thank you” can completely change the course of a bad hour, day or week. 

Words are the most powerful tool we have been given as human beings. They give us the opportunity to communicate and understand the voices and stories that make up the narratives of our world. 

Lately, I have noticed something quite interesting: people have forgotten how to say thank you. Students will leave a classroom without thanking their teacher, a girl will take an extra mask from the Health and Safety Practitioner Amanda Butch’s office without thanking her, and even forget to say thank you as the servery chefs make their plate of food. 

Thank you.

The phrase preschool teachers and parents emphasize is necessary when a child begins to form their vernacular. You are taught as an infant the importance of gratitude, but that seems to lose traction as we get older. We gain a sense of independence and forget that there are people in our lives that actively carve out the space and time for us to exist. The only way to measure gratitude is through spoken word or an act of kindness. There are influential people in our lives that deserve more than a just thank you. 

Staring out into Archer’s beautiful courtyard decorated in breathing life, we forget to acknowledge the hard-working facilities team that take care of not only the courtyard, but the entire school. We hold certain people in our lives to an expectation without taking a second to recognize that they don’t do it out of expectation but out of willingness. The teachers that spend hours on grading, the classmate that holds the door an extra second for you to pass through or the teammates that make practice bearable, warrant a thank you. The people that we expect to show up for us each and every day, do. They acknowledge our existence, reward us for our accomplishments and recognize the strength we hold. These are the most important people in our lives. 

Not only does gratitude impact the lives of others, it also reminds us of the goodness in our own lives. Being grateful for the many things in our life, big or small, reminds us of the happiness that exists in our life. This leaves us with a sense of attachment to the world around us. Bringing gratitude into your life by appreciating the efforts of others helps you acknowledge and foster a sense of well-being.

It is important to reflect on our willingness to express gratitude, showing the people in your life that you acknowledge their efforts. Showing kindness is in our human nature.

I think it is time we make a promise. A promise to ourselves and other around us, to say thank you at least three times a day. Whether that be to teachers, friends, parents or siblings, it is time we start appreciating those around us.