I teach hard working, kind, and appreciative students. So, when I noticed that very few of them said, "Thank-you," after I'd made 70 crepes for their enjoyment, I was perplexed. I never doubted their appreciation for the good food--they're hungry seniors. They even said things like "You're awesome," but most were silent.
I started paying attention, even started counting the number of students who did say thank-you, and the numbers were few. Most of all, I was sad, that I'd even started counting. It's a horrible thing to look for lack, instead of abundance.
On my way home from a walk, I run into a friend who is waiting at the end of her driveway to talk about the state of students. She volunteers at the school, and she'd felt a void of gratitude too.
She'd also noticed her daughter hadn't been teaching her son to say please and thank-you, and at just a year and a half old, she almost felt like it might be too late.
I remember hammering please and thank-you into my little children's vocabulary and hearts. I'd with hold the desired object until I heard that sweet voice say "Please," and waited on their heels for that "Thank-you." It mattered, and for a surety, my example mattered too.
So I'm wondering, if my students aren't expressing gratitude through the simple but meaningful phrases please and thank-you, am I not using them either?