They are the two best words in the English language. I’m talking about ‘thank you’. Add two more words, ‘well done’ and they become the best four words in the language.
Unfortunately, not many of us are in the habit of appreciating good work done by others. Worse, we criticise or pass rude comments on their work.
Consider this. A husband watches with concern his wife running around, trying to complete one chore after the other. In an attempt to lend a helping hand, he removes the dry clothes from the clothesline and folds them, not very immaculately or with geometric precision, but the work is done.
The wife has a look at the clothes, glares at the husband and says, “Not one item is folded right. Why do you add to my work? Now I have to unfold the clothes and fold them again.”
The glum husband makes an exit. This happens again when the maid does not turn up. He cleans the crockery and cutlery, but the wife does it again, muttering, “Oh, why on earth do you have to do all this?”
The 15-year-old daughter, not accustomed to kitchen work, wants to try her hand at preparing breakfast. She spills egg yolk on the kitchen platform, messes up the gas stove, burns the omelette and proudly presents them, along with cups of watery coffee to her parents.
There’s a bright smile on her face. While the father accepts the burnt offerings with a smile and tries his best to swallow it, the wife rushes into the kitchen and wails at the state of affairs there. The daughter is disheartened, often almost reduced to tears.
This is common in every home. We often overlook the spirit with which some work is done and seek perfection where it’s not needed. What was wrong with a towel, which was not folded exactly right? It would still dry our bodies.
As for the burnt breakfast, the daughter wanted to please the parents. So why not accept it in the right spirit and say the four magical words — ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’.
That’s exactly what Dennis the Menace did on every Mother’s Day and was rewarded with a big hug and thank you. Cleaning the kitchen mess came later.
Watch the magic of a couple of nice words from the teacher to a student on an assignment which is done well. “Thank you, that was good,” said with a smile to the restaurant chef after an excellent meal or to a shop attendant who waits patiently on your family — their smiles in response will warm the cockles of your heart.
Years ago, I had submitted my first feature article to the editor of a newspaper. He emerged from his cabin, nodded his head, smiled and made the V sign.
Another Mumbai based editor, sent a message to congratulate me on a special article. I remember these editors with affection. That’s the outcome of the four magical words.