My Mum was raised in an era where minding your manners was paramount. Saying please and thank you, meant you respected your world and in turn, your world respected you.
My Mum was famous for her hand written notes.
She wrote thank you’s to friends, family, neighbors, teachers, caregivers, people she admired from a far, people she admired up close and complete strangers. She wrote a thank you note to the local fire department after our laundry room went up in smoke. She sent a note to Jackie Kennedy thanking her for showing her how to be brave in times of horrific tragedy.
My Mum would go out of her way to verbally thank any person who showed her (or her kids) the slightest act of kindness. A held door at a mall, a waiter’s prompt service or a nurse’s soft touch never went unoticed. She was the type of person that thanked telemarketers for calling. “Oh, thanks for calling Dear, but we don’t need any green garbage bags today”.
She believed everyone deserved to be respected and thanked.
Her old school style of connection is a faint glimmer in today’s 140 characters or less world. But, my Mum knew keyboards clicks could never replace the comforting clasp of a kind hand. She also knew that people need to feel validated and acknowledged in order to belong and connect in this world.
Here are 3 simple rules I learned from my Mum about validation and acknowledment that start with a simple please and thank you:
1) When someone does something well, works hard, goes out of their way, helps out, thinks of you, thinks of others, shares their ideas, shares their meal, gives a great speech, makes you think twice, makes you laugh or simply holds the elevator door open, look them in the eyes and say THANK YOU (and mean it).
2) When you need help from a colleague, your family or a stranger on a bus don’t forget to say PLEASE and remember to say THANK YOU afterwards.
3) When someone does something extraordinary, big or small, that makes a difference in your life, take the time to send a handwritten THANK YOU note.
Not long after my Mum passed away my sister had to take a taxi ride back to her house.
When the driver reached the address he said; “Oh I know this place, I bring a nice old lady here a few days a week after her dialysis appointments. She always squeezes my hand really tight and says thank you so much for your kindness Dear”.
My sister laughed through her tears and said “Yup, that would be my Mum. Thank you Sir for sharing her story”.