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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is the word "thank you" doomed?

A grandparent asks an increasingly common question

There is a sort of agony aunt in the Wellington Your Weekend by the name of Peta Mathias (who is also a chef).  The questions she gets are the usual ones, on the whole, about boyfriends, lovers, sex, and marriage.  Her answers are sensible and occasionally hilarious.

Maybe she was surprised to get this one:

Dear Peta, I am a grandparent with several grandchildren.  I am quite doting, always remember their birthdays and special occasions with presents, but never get any thank yous.  I know times have changed and one doesn't send thank you notes any more, but don't you think they could zip off an email, text, or even make a phone call to acknowledge my gifts? I have gently brought this up with my son and daughter-in-law and they say "yes yes", but nothing ever changes.  What do you think? Evan, Akaroa.

What I think is that it is significant that the writer is a man.  What Peta suggests:

Dear Evan, There is no excuse not to say thank you to someone who loves you and has been kind and generous to you. If these children do not learn this basic politeness now, they will be miserable adults because saying thank you is the most elementary of social skills. Stop giving presents and see what happens -- they will learn that entitlement is a sad attitude.

Will Evan take her advice?

Somehow, I doubt it... 


Joan Druett said...

Yes, yes, I know, I know that "thank you" is two words. But somehow I think of it as one.

Anonymous said...

I heard only the other day about a visitation by relatives, with presents. The parcels were opened while the relatives were in the kitchen, and when they returned, nothing was said about the presents, no thanks, no nothing. Not even from the parents.