I arrived to library story time slightly early and could hear the “bubble time” music playing which signifies the end of the previous story time. Of course it was polite, respectful and well, just commonsensical of me, to let the numerous people attending the earlier time slot exit before my daughter and I entered. So, without hesitation, I opened the door, holding baby and holding the door open for all adults and children exiting. I was, and still am, completely flabbergasted by the amount of people who walked by me and my baby, holding the door for them, without a word of “thanks”. Out of the probably 25-30 people who exited as I was holding that door, only a handful said “thank you”. There were a few kind-hearted others who offered to hold the door instead of I, but I turned them down.
See, I don’t mind holding the door for people — I actually enjoy it. What I also enjoy is seeing the appreciation on people’s faces as they exit a door I am holding. There is something about being compassionate to a stranger that can fill your bucket; at least is does for me. And I do believe, that for the people who the door is being held for, they feel as though their bucket has been filled as well.
So, why did only a handful of people thank me? Are their buckets already so full that they didn’t feel the need to? Or maybe they just didn’t care about filling my bucket? Or maybe, just maybe, they did not even realize that they missed an opportunity to show compassion and respect for another human being?
I am FAR from perfect. I make SO MANY mistakes. But, I am ALWAYS polite. I still thank my husband when he pays for dinner though we have joint banking and technically “we” pay for dinner together. I always follow up the receipt of a birthday card in the mail with a “thank you” phone call. I try my darndest to send out handwritten “thank you” notes for my children’s Christmas and birthday presents, although I have to admit, I have missed a few of those in the past. But, I always, always, always say thank you when someone holds the door for me, hands me something, gives me a compliment, etc. This is just how I was raised and how I want to raise my children.
My children do super well with their manners at such a young age. My three-year old may need a reminder on occasion, but once he is reminded he will “thank you” until you acknowledge that he has. Even my one-year old has her own version of “thank you”.
I think it is so extremely important that we all try to model manners in any and all situations; whether our child is around watching us or not. We need to remember that our own personal mood should not dictate whether or not we have manners in the moment. I cannot tell you how many times my five-year old daughter has held the door for others, at Starbucks for example, without receiving a “thank you”. This is just completely unacceptable in my eyes.
“Thank you” got lost somewhere and we should all help find it. In the meantime, my children and I will continue to hold the door open and use our manners as “good manners reflects something from inside — an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self”. — Emily Post