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Minding Your Manners

August 04, 2016
By Michaela Johnson, Day Camp Director & Summer Youth Ministry Intern

Parents always want their children to be polite. Think of all the times you’ve heard an adult tell a child “remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.” My three year old sister is currently struggling to mind her manners. I recently witnessed her snatch a cookie from her dad’s hand and shove it in her mouth. My mom quickly reacted, asking “What do you say to Daddy?” With a mouthful of cookie, she muttered “Tank you, Daddy!”

I’m just about halfway through writing the nearly 100 personalized thank you notes to volunteers who made Schoharie Valley Community Camp possible. I ambitiously took on the task of reaching out to each and every individual who gave their time and efforts to provide 162 campers with an amazing week. After everything that it takes to make camp successful, I thought that this was the least I could do. (And maybe my mom would be proud of me remembering to say “thank you”).

My hand is cramping, I’ve lost feeling in my tongue from licking so many envelopes, and I’ve run out of ways to express my gratitude. Have I thought about giving up? Definitely. Will I? Of course not.

Saying “thank you” is, in my opinion, one of the most important things we can do. (Disclaimer: just because I think it’s important, doesn’t mean that I’m always good at it). Do I ever get offended when I’m not thanked? Oh yeah. But that’s why I think it’s so imperative to simply thank each other. It could easily make someone’s day and give them that little nudge to keep going. Do I ever forget to say “thank you?” I’m sure my mom would agree that I do. We all forget, but let’s try not to.

How do you feel when someone goes out of their way to say how much they appreciate something you’ve done? If you’re like me, you feel pretty darn good. I’m not one to have the spotlight focused on me, but for that brief moment, I know that person is expressing their gratitude for me and my actions, and that’s a really nice feeling.

In all this, I’m glad that I’m taking my time to tell the volunteers how much I appreciate them. But I’m also realizing that maybe there’s someone else I should be thanking, rather than just snatching away from His hands what I’ve been so graciously given and forgetting to mind my manners. Overall, the reason that camp was so successful this summer was because God was watching over the whole time. He had it all planned out way before any of us knew what roles we’d be serving. All of this happened because of Him. So here I am, pausing to give thanks to God.

I encourage you to look to your own lives and see what you’ve been forgetting to thank God for over the past few weeks. I’m sure there’s something. If you find yourself at a loss for words when it comes to praying (I often find myself here), remember how much can be said in a few words. One of the most straightforward prayers I’ve ever heard goes something like this: “Dear Lord, Thank you, thank you, thank you. Help us, help us, help us. Amen.” It isn’t lengthy with a bunch of fancy words, but it gets the point across. And just think about how happy God will be, looking down on His children saying, “Tank you, Daddy!”