Anyone with Loinfruit will either have gone through, or have still ahead of them the joyous task of nagging them to say “Please” and “Thank you”. Those simple, oft neglected words in whose absence the ire of parents rises, and which are perhaps the simplest defining difference between a child (and ultimately an adult) who is considered polite and one who is not. At some point as Loinfruit learn to speak, and more importantly to take part in communication we make all this effort to teach them how to communicate thanks…and then we get older ourselves and we…errrrr….forget.
During our years living in Disneyland (a.k.a. The USA) we made a great many friends. One night we were invited to to dinner by our friends Jill and Sharon, and as we sat down for dinner around the table with their two Loinfruit they pulled out a book and asked us to read a blessing. Now, SheWhoMustBeFed and The VegHead could not be described as Attendees of Church in our wildest dreams. I admit in fact to being somewhat taken aback, though the flow is to go with in style and grace as far as I am concerned.
Sometimes lessons are not attended. Sometimes they happen. A copy of the book I was handed that night has since become a much thumbed one in our own dining room; A Grateful Heart edited by M. J. Ryan – “Daily blessings for the Evening Meal from Buddha to The Beatles.”
My lesson that night as I sat down to share a meal with our friends is that we sometimes shun ritual because we associate it overly with something else that we choose to not be be a part of our lives. In this case the ritual of expressing gratitude for the food we were about to eat, and appreciation for the effort and love that had gone into all stages of its creation was avoided; as saying “Grace” was associated in my mind with a religious blessing.
It has since become a ritual for us to read a blessing as we sit down together for dinner, or sometimes as the mood requires to just make something up. That simple act is a moment of pause and reflection between the rush of the day and the (enjoyable) effort of cooking a meal, and the meal itself.
Along the way we have also been reminded of a simple truth – that as we get older we too often forget to express our thanks to those in our lives for even the simplest of acts that they do for us, and that they undertake in an everyday manner to contribute to life and household. We forget to say “please” and “thank you” even as we teach our Loinfruit to do the same. It is almost a cliche that the reason expressed for unhappiness in a relationship is that one party “takes the other for granted”. Translation: “You don’t notice all the things I do for you and you never say thanks – therefore you don’t love me anymore”. Saying “thank you” isn’t the answer to life, but it is interesting in a simple and fundamental way that we think it important to teach Loinfruit the importance of those words.
To quote from the Grateful Heart…
As the sun illuminates
the moon and the stars
so let us illuminate
Thanks for reading.