Thanks, but it doesn't count if you don't say it

By the Herald editorial staff

Thank you.

It's a phrase uttered to strangers who hold open a door and the counter help at a fast-food joint. We're pretty polite to people we don't know.

Too often, sadly, we fail to extend the same courtesy to spouses, parents and children.

We don't say it -- but we should.

We should thank the people in our immediate circle early and often, but it seems like the closer we get to home, the less likely we are to speak those two little words.

We forget that we all drink from wells we didn't dig.

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderfully appropriate day to reflect on the ways we've benefited from other people's labors.

This list might include your progenitors, our Founding Fathers, countless military personnel, teachers, doctors, nurses, police and firefighters -- and it would still be incomplete.

Thanksgiving Day also is a wonderfully appropriate day to reflect on all the little kindnesses we've come to expect from those around us.

Of course, feeling gratitude isn't the same as expressing it. And "thank you" is such a lovely thing to hear. It's especially nice when you hear it from someone close to you.

Does anyone remember this children's song?

There are two little magic words that will open any door with ease.

The first little word is thanks and the other little word is please.

You'll be so surprised what these two little words can do.

They work like a charm for me and they'll work like a charm for you.

It's simple but good advice.

Perhaps you're thinking it's been a while since someone has said those words to you. Maybe so. That means you could be the one to start the epidemic, the catalyst in a chain reaction of gratitude.

Say it to your kids. Say it to your parents. Say it to your siblings.

Say it to someone you love, especially if you find yourself taking him or her for granted.

Say it. Write it. Sing it. Blog it.

Know your audience, though. Generally speaking, thanking someone older than 60 will require a handwritten note. This means paper, pen and a postage stamp.

For those in the 40-60 age group, you can use the telephone. After all, it worked for E.T.

The 20-40-year-olds appreciate an e-mail, and younger than that you can text message. Generally speaking, don't text Grandma, no matter how hip she is.

If you're thanking a teenager (and that's an age group that really needs to hear it), the appropriate, and sometimes only, way to get through is to text. In that case, a simple "TY" gets your sentiments across.

(Warning to parents: Posting it on your teens' Facebook wall might backfire on you.) But a note on a pillow always works.

Everyone loves to hear the words thank you and here's another children's song for you to sing today -- and the rest of the year -- Kindness begins with me.