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Please and Thank You: A Lost Art

Please and Thank You: A Lost Art

At a recent event I was speaking at the fire alarm went off. Over 200 people exited the building and stayed outside until the firemen arrived to give the all clear signal. I saw this as an opportunity to conduct a quick small-sample social experiment. I went to one of the doors leading back into the building and kept it open as the people passed through. Most people totally ignored the fact that the door was being held open for them.

Out of thee 100 or so people I saw walk by only 9 said thank you. Not only that, out of the 9 who said thank you, I had to look at them before they got to the door to elicit a response. Some people were looking at their phones, while others were engrossed in conversation. Some even looked at me, and kept going with saying a word. The next time most of them saw me after that was when I was speaking to them during my presentation. I wonder what they thought then.

Now I am not here to throw barbs at the people that did not say thank you. I am sure most of them are very good people. What struck me most about the situation was that it seemed to be a normal procedure for them. There is a lack of community going on in America that is affecting the way our children and adults relate to each other. We seem to be so wrapped up in our own little world that we fail to see the benefit of a simple gesture like please and thank you. Our children need to see the benefit of a little humility and appreciation in their lives to others. The brain likes it, that I promise you.

When I was head coach in college hockey we used to give out meal money to our players after an away game. We had a simple rule. A player must say thank you when they receive the money or we started all over again. In 21 years doing this I only had 3 times we needed to start over. We also led the league in fewest penalties in 20 of my 21 years. I’d like to think there was a connection.



Written by : Jennifer