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“It’s a long ways from your heart.” These were the famous words of my dad when I was growing up. Not only were they words of perseverance, but they also epitomized my dad’s personality and work ethic. However, while they have helped me find strength and comfort throughout my life, they couldn’t help me handle the grieving process I was about to experience when last November, my dad passed away of a massive heart attack.

When my best friend became engaged last fall, I couldn’t have been happier for her. Memories flashed through my head from the previous ten years and how much we really grew up together through college and as young adults. And now that one of us was taking the next step in her life, it feels as though we both were preparing for what was to come.

I’m not sure what you call it, common courtesy, good manners, graciousness, or a show of respect. But what I do know is that I don’t hear it often enough and it bugs me.

“You’re Welcome”

Growing up, I was taught to say “you’re welcome” in reply to hearing the term “thank you.”  According to urbandictionary.com, the phrase is a polite way to respond to thanks. It’s a sign of acknowledgment, it tells someone that you are respecting their gesture of appreciation, it’s just common courtesy…right?

Today when I say “thank you” the response I get is “no problem.” What’s that…no problem? What…was it really a problem in the first place? Is this your automatic response to everything? Or do you really NOT care?

Most often, I hear “no problem” in the service industry or from The Teenager (which I correct her every time!) When I hear the phrase, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Why? Because the term “no problem” indicates there actually was a problem. We service providers (and parents, children, and generally caring people) need to eliminate this term from our vocabulary. We need to get back to basics and show some courtesy and respect, in a positive way, with just a few simple words.  

If saying “you’re welcome” goes against your belief system or is just unnatural for you to say, here are a few other polite and service-minded responses you could try:

In June our family said goodbye to an 11-year-old little girl who had taken up space in our home and our hearts during her fifteen-month stay in the U.S. through a Korean exchange program. I recall the void that was felt for several weeks. We had to retrain ourselves to count to six instead of seven when setting the table, cross off Baby Swiss Cheezits on the grocery list, and zerbert one less child at bed time.
When we embarked on opening our home to an exchange student, we focused on the experience we could bring to her life, but did not realize the impact she would make on ours. This was one of the many thoughts going through my head as I mowed the lawn in June just days after putting her on the fourteen-hour flight back to her real home. As I looked back, I saw all the things I had learned about myself. I learned that I did have a heart that could grow to love a child that wasn’t my flesh and blood. I also saw the selfish sides of me, at times, that struggled with being inconvenienced with another person to manage. I saw my kids and family in a new light as we had to adjust to having a new person in our midst. But the biggest thing that I learned is that life always boils down to relationships. It’s what matters most in the end. You never know when it will be your last time to make an impact on a life. So don’t discount the value of spending time with those you love. With our Korean daughter, we knew our time was limited and yet we still got sucked into thinking we would have more time and more opportunities.
Our world pulls us in so many directions. It also inundates us with messages that the temporary things are so much more important than relationships. Listen to your heart and not your logic. The laundry can wait. Play a game with your kids. Your to-do list can grow another day. Go on a date with your hubby. That much-needed run isn’t necessary. Take a walk with your sister. Must see TV doesn’t have to be seen. Write an encouraging e-mail to a friend in need. Choose to invest in relationships today.

Last Wednesday, July 25, I was lucky enough to attend Fashion Force Challenge at Monte’s, an event co-sponsored by ArtPrize and Spotlight 616, as a judge. The event was centered around the release of ArtPrize’s latest and greatest merchandise line for their international art competition beginning September 19 and lasting through October 7.

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