This I Have Learned … Thank You and Giving Thanks!

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Research published in Royal Society Open Science has revealed there is an unspoken expectation of co-operation in many societies around the world and so (the phrase) “thank you” is surplus to requirements. (U.K. News, May 2018) Further, researchers determined that in some of the languages they observed there was no phrase or word to say thank you … such as the language Cha’palaa in Ecuador.

The Chinese are opposed to receiving thanks (xiexies) and generally offering a thank you. According to one writer, the “default Chinese response seems to be of keeping your Western xiexies to yourself.”

The Chinese truly value genuine gratitude, but it is implicit in their culture. This tradition emanates from the Confucian principle of bao, or reciprocity. It is equivalent to the Chinese golden rule of Jesus’ words: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” (Matthew 7:12), and the words of Buddha “All tremble at punishment. Life is dear to all. Put yourself in the place of others and harm none nor have them harmed” (Dhp. 130).

It’s a huge understatement that Americans say thank you in an over-abundance. To be sure, this probably is the first phrase that non-English speaking immigrants learn when they first arrive in the U.S. Especially at Thanksgiving, Americans ruminate about their many blessings and/or good fortunes in life and take the time to give thanks.

After the past tumultuous months, perhaps the words thank you will seem hollow and disingenuous. After all—COVID? Fires? Floods? However, there are some real blessings in disguise right here in SaddleBrooke and we don’t always recognize them, such as:

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The staff, who make sure that all net areas, for tennis and pickleball, are kept clean and play-ready.

The instructors, who offer a wide array of classes here in SaddleBrooke.

The chefs, who have the knowledge and training to prepare and present delicious meals in our restaurants or for special events, while keeping menu variety and quality their top focus.

Our golf pros, who come in contact with hundreds of our members in any given week. The Pros have the knowledge and the diplomacy to work with a myriad of personalities.

Members of our boards of directors, who give of their time and talent to ensure that rules and guidelines are established and maintained.

Restaurant wait staff, who work tirelessly for us, then leave our community at the end of their long shift. COVID has meant extra work on their part to keep our restaurants sanitized and safe.

The behind-the-scenes office staff, who wear multiple hats in a setting that requires office skills, multi-tasking, and name and face recognition!

Our unit representatives, who donate their time and give their energy in organizing unit events and act as communicators between our administration and the members of their respective units.

The many volunteer chairs and their boards, of all of the clubs or groups (about 140 of them) that exist here in SaddleBrooke. These individuals are the glue that keep our organizations running.

THE MOST important blessing in disguise would be our director or general manager who makes it possible for us to enjoy SaddleBrooke, our home.

To everyone above, thank you.

Please forgive me if there are omissions.