Appreciation. It’s a pretty simple concept, right? Someone does something nice for you and you say “thank you”. But true appreciation is more than just words…it’s action! To simply say the words “Thank you” is great, but to show that you are grateful and appreciative means so much more.
How many times have you felt unappreciated? How many days have you felt like you were invisible; like if you dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow no one would notice until they needed money for something, clean clothes, or a hot meal? I feel like that every day. Every day of my life I think “Ya know what? The Bahamas is looking pretty good right about now.” In our fast-paced world, so many times we take so much for granted. In my house, clean clothes just appear as do the 3 squares a day my children devour and the money for “this and that” that they seem to always need. Every once in a while I get a hug along with the “thank you”…that makes it all worth while. It’s the action that makes the “thank you” more special.
Sometimes, however, adding action to words of appreciation may not be appropriate. For example, you might be grateful for the added care the bagger at the grocery store took when bagging your bread, but you wouldn’t give them a great big hug would you? That might be awkward. That is why I started telling people exactly how I feel. Try using the word “appreciate” instead of thank-you…it makes a huge difference.
For instance, I called my pediatrician about a condition my son had. I was really hoping for the miracle “last minute appointment at the local office” so I didn’t have to wait 3 days to drive 30 minutes to her other office. Never gonna happen, right? That’s what I said…until her nurse said “Can you bring him in around 2:30 today? She’ll be in the office closest to you so it will be more convenient.” I couldn’t believe my ears. My miracle had come true! “Yes! Absolutely! 2:30 today, we’ll be there!” and then I added “Thank you so much! I really appreciate the extra effort to work him in today.” Ya know what? I could tell those words made that nurse’s day. She’s 8 months pregnant with her 4th child working her butt off and after a day of grumpy parents and even grumpier sick kids she really needed to hear that. It works on cashiers who take the extra time to put smiley faces on my receipt, coaches who are willing to wait that extra 10 minutes with my child until I can get there to pick them up from practice, and the countless teachers who go above and way beyond to make learning a life-long positive experience for my children.
My challenge for you today (or tomorrow if you’re reading this at night) is to tell just one person that you either appreciate them or appreciate something they have done for you. And oddly, the smaller the thing that was done, the more impact the “I appreciate that” has! It’s the small things that will ultimately change the world. Let’s start appreciating each other more. Let’s lead by example…just like that commercial where people are doing good deeds for each other and others see it and pay it forward. I love that commercial. It’s my second favorite…my absolute favorite is the one with the kid in the Darth Vader suit that uses “the Force” to start his dad’s car. That’s another discussion for another day. You never know when your words of appreciation are the difference between someone having a bad day and someone having an extraordinary day. Take that chance!