Learning How to say Thanks

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 Learning How to say Thanks

Researchers have proven what most parents probably knew instinctively: gratitude doesn’t come naturally. In her book entitled “The Gift of Thanks,” Margaret Visser cites a study which observed how parents teach their children to say “hi,” “thanks,” and good-bye.” The children in the study spontaneously said “hi” 27 percent of the time, “good-bye” 25 percent of the time, and “thanks” 7 percent of the time. Parents had to prompt their children to say “hi” 28 percent of the time, “good-bye” 33 percent of the time, and “thanks” 51 percent of the time.

In conclusion, children had a much more difficult time learning to say “thanks.” Most children have to learn to say “thank you” even before they know what it means. Visser states, “Eventually, when [children] have matured and been further educated, they will come to be able to feel the emotion that the words express. The words come first, the feelings later.” Perhaps this applies to adults too!

Based on this research Visser concludes that learning to be thankful involves a steep learning curve. She writes, “In our culture thanksgiving is believed to be, for most children, the very last of basic social graces they acquire … .Children have to be ‘brought up’ to say they are grateful. The verb is passive: they are brought up, they do not bring themselves.”

Visser also notes that, although we have to grow into the practice of thanksgiving, once we finally learn to be grateful, we seldom forget it: “Such phrases [like ‘thank you’] become so ingrained in us that they last when almost everything else has been forgotten. In states of aphasia, or in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, these little phrases often survive the shipwreck of other memories.”

Margaret Visser, “The Gift of Thanks” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), pp. 8-15


By the way can I say thanks to all who remembered my birthday! The cards were great and the expressions of encoragement were much appreciated! I can wait to walk on the treadmill that you gave me. I have no excuse not to be skinny and healthy! Thanks!


Pastor Phil


Thanksgiving Proclamation

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Thanksgiving Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

A. Lincoln