As we’ve been teaching our kids manners it’s dawned on us that while we can withhold things until they say “please,” we have no power to make them say “thank you” after. Shimri flat out refused to say “please” when we first started working on that even though she loves the watermelon we were offering. It wasn’t until a few days later when she realized she wasn’t going to be getting any potato chips we were offering if she didn’t say it (sign it) that she finally relented. We often have to pause when our kids make a request but they’re real quick to say please.
Teaching them to say “thank you” though is a whole different thing. They already have what they want so we can’t hold that over them till they say it. So far the only way we’ve been able to teach them is through example. We say thank you to each other whenever the other does something. We say thank you to them when they do stuff or us. Saying thank you does not come as a natural part of us. It’s something we must learn. And I’m learning that it’s something we learn through observation.
A true thank you cannot be coerced out of us. It cannot be forced. It has to be freely given. And it has to be given with knowledge of what it means. I think that may be why gratitude is a form of love.