Giving thought to a few words of thanks

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love it for its simplicity. Basically, it is a day dedicated to sharing a meal with people you love. That’s it. No pressure to give or receive gifts. The present is our presence. (Cheesy, I know. But, isn’t it the truth?) And, as the title suggests, it is a time to give thanks for the many wonderful things that get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Practicing gratitude is a worthwhile venture, as study after psychological study suggests it is the key to unlocking true happiness.

It struck me today, as I walked into the Wawa for my (third) cup of coffee, that I say “thanks” A LOT. Hold the door for me, I say “thanks”. Hand me my change, I say “thanks”. Wave me into the line of traffic, I mouth “thanks” and wave. To be honest, I say it without even really thinking. You know what I mean? Not that it’s not sincere….but, it’s sort of out of habit. I have my parents to thank for my politeness, I suppose. And, I know that I have raised sons who say “thank you” on a regular basis because I was a tyrant about it when they were little. Ironically, as I was teaching them about the importance of saying “thank you”, I was also encouraging them to make eye contact. When I recounted the many times over the course of today that I uttered those words….I wonder if I practiced what I’d preached. Chances are, not every time. I distinctly remember thanking the cashier at Target for bagging my items, but I was also looking at a text message on my phone. When I got into the parking lot, I said “thank you” to the guy collecting the carts, but I was busy looking down to avoid stepping in slushy piles of snow. I WAS truly thankful in every instance…however, I could have been more cognizant of my surroundings.

Are you interested in doing an experiment with me? How about from now until Thanksgiving Day, we take a moment to think about why we are saying “thanks” and put some meaning behind it! Seems easy, but I’m guessing that, in the chaos of the season, we will have to keep this mission in the forefront of our minds. Try it and report back to me in the Comment section below!

Happy Weekend and THANK YOU for reading.

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