2 Powerful Words for 2016

By Troy Bishopp

January always opens up with folks coming down with resolution fever. A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not to do something.  Being resolute describes someone who is determined in character, action, or ideas.  For the New Year, I’m determined to adopt a new, positive direction that is sorely lacking in our culture.  The resolution of conveying often, the two most powerful words in our vocabulary:  Thank you.

Before you get my impression of these two simple words, I have to share what precipitated this call to action. For my 10 year tenure, our Conservation District employee scheduling board has hung in the same spot so everyone knows what we are doing on a weekly basis.  Next to it is a place where we hang holiday greetings, testimonials and thank you cards from customers or businesses.  I have seen a steady decline in the amount of gratitude for our/my work over the years with 2015’s wall sadly bare at the holidays.  I have to ask, is saying or writing thank you, gone out of favor?

Philosopher William James said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”

Are we too entitled? Do we feel like folks are paid enough so no praise is needed?  Have we lost our motivation to openly convene gratitude?  Are we just too busy?  Have all the e-mails, text messages and social media sites numbed our vigor for personal heartfelt connections?  Are we not trained to write or speak effectively anymore?  I’ll tell you this, if I get another blanket “form” letter thank-you with a stamped signature, I’m liable to meltdown.

I witness this thankless situation almost daily at checkout counters, schools, service industries, job interviews, food courts and meetings where the only recognition of one’s work is a low-level grunt. It seems the preponderance of cell phones and looking down at a tiny screen trumps any form of communication and eye contact.  Are we the new “walking dead”?

I’m not immune. This glaring problem is also looking at me.  I have recognized my folly and have taken steps to increase my thankfulness skills.  For one, I’m being inspired by Denver Bronco’s quarterback, Peyton Manning who is well respected for his personal, hand written thank yous’ and words of encouragement to fans and players.  I had my best photographs turned into personal cards for correspondence.  I actually bought stamps solely for this kind of gesture.  I’m being proactive in freely allowing myself to bubble with heartfelt appreciation and taking the time to write something meaningful to someone who deserves a pat on the back.

I have a lot to be thankful for: A beautiful wife of 34 years, great kids, sweet grandchildren, supporting parents and a multi-generational paid-for farm.  I’m blessed to have 3 careers that allow me to express my talents.  I have many friends throughout the country and a community of farmers that will help, no questions asked.  Some of my friends have shown me the courtesy of wonderful appreciation letters that have stuck with me throughout my life. So I know it’s possible.

Now that it’s 2016, I am declaring it the year of “Thank You” where the 2 most powerful words should be spoken or written on a regular basis to warm the hearts of humanity and provide inspiration to others for the little things. It’s a resolution with true and lasting merit much like 2 other top resolution words:  Staying healthy.