HOW many these days, I wonder, are taught to mind their “Ps” and “Qs”?
And how many of us actually remember what that means? Regularly drummed into me in my youth, it became an essential part of my psyche. But ‘Please’ and, more especially, ‘Thank-you’ are such simple expressions that cost nothing, yet can make such a huge difference to our relationships with others.
A task undertaken without thanks can so quickly generate resentment, whilst alternatively an expression of real gratitude can convert drudgery into pleasure. So how often, for example, do we thank our partners for all they do for us? And how many failed relationships could have been preserved had each recognised the vital contribution of the other, showing and expressing their gratitude accordingly? For it’s these “Qs” that boost our self-esteem, and give us a sense of value and purpose in all we undertake.
And that culture of expressing our gratitude to those around is, I suggest something we really need to re-establish, for it’s in mutual appreciation that our society is built and strengthened, rather than in the debilitating modern tendency to take each other for granted. And nowhere, I believe, is this tendency more demonstrated than in our general lack of gratitude to God for all the benefits and gifts we regularly receive from Him. For rather than thanking, we often tend to presume God has a duty to care for us and complain when, often as a result of our misuse of this planet, crops fail or storms destroy.
So have we, I wonder, realised we are now in the season of harvest, a time when most in our younger days would probably have attended a harvest thanksgiving, thanking God for His abundant provision? Do we feel thankful for the abundance of food on the supermarket shelves that mean we never need go short, brought by the efforts and sacrifices regularly made by countless others? And do we never marvel at the wonder of the seasons so essential for all this produce? How beautifully that lovely Harvest Hymn, ‘We plough the fields’ expresses it “All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love.”