At school this year we are emphasizing respect. We are asking students to use "Yes, Sir" and "Yes, Ma'am" and well as please and thank-you. These are expressions that open doors and pave the way to good relationships. They recognize our respect for others and dependence on someone for a desired action and our appreciation of someone who has performed in a way that has benefited or pleased us. They both will enrich the speaker and the hearer.
Being respectful and grateful are important qualities for blessing the lives of others. If we are not respectful and grateful we are not in a condition to bring grace to others and if we are it flows almost automatically. We learn the importance of gratefulness early in life. I remember my first learning experience with regard to saying please and thank-you. We were dinner guests at my aunt's home. I called out, "Pass the potatoes" which someone promptly did. Then came the lesson. My Mom demanded, "What happened to please and thank-you?" to which I replied, "Oh, this is family, I don't need to say that here." I won't go into the embarrassment that resulted from the lecture I received.
In a society that has become less and less mannerly we all need to express respectfulness and gratefulness. It becomes easier if we learn to recognize the benefits that God and others have provided and then look for ways to express genuine appreciation. Saying please and thank-you is just the beginning. They are usually connected with seeking and receiving some desired action. We also need to be grateful for life and friendships even when we don't receive anything in particular. That gratefulness will change us within and refresh those around us.