Between the Lines



There seems to be a “day of recognition” for almost every profession, calling, or interest out there. One day in February we’ll even celebrate “National Tortilla Chip Day.” I love that we are able to say thank you to, and show appreciation to, folks from all kinds of backgrounds and celebrate our favorite foods and hobbies. It’s fun… and we all need more fun around here these days.

I was raised to believe, generally speaking, that showing appreciation and giving thanks was the kind, respectable thing to do. I still feel that is true today at 40 years old. Today, more than ever, gratitude is underserved and impatient entitlement served well-done. People are struggling and for reasons that we don’t normally associate with hardship. Those with jobs are overworked and often underpaid. Individuals in certain fields are expected to take the brunt of society’s anger while continuing to display a tattered smile. Customer service is going the way of the dodo bird (extinct) because the reasonableness of society is deteriorating.

That’s why I love these sometimes silly, but necessary, appreciation days. We all of course salute our troops, law enforcement, healthcare workers, and teachers on the reg…or at least we should. But now-a-days everyone needs to feel appreciated. Not the same idea as “everyone gets a trophy,” but a true sense of joy for accomplishing the many things that have become increasingly difficult over the past couple of years. So, as a result, I declare this day (or whatever day you are reading this) as “National Thank YOU for Doing Your Part Day.”

Thank you to the single mom who still works three jobs and doesn’t complain. Thank you to the young teenager who says “yes sir” and “thank you” even when their friends are around. Thank you to the person who stops and grabs the empty water bottle off the sidewalk and throws it in the trash can. Thanks to the cashier who is exhausted but still leaves his lane open when he should have clocked out 15 minutes ago. Thank you to the bus driver who keeps trucking along despite the ups and downs of school openings and closings. I appreciate the sanitation worker who has to learn a new route, make that two or three new routes, because his employer can’t find people to work. Thank you for showing up to the waitress who has 12 tables during the lunch rush because most of her co-workers are out sick, again. Thanks to the volunteer at the food bank who is elderly and probably shouldn’t be out right now, but is serving others nonetheless.

The list could continue for volumes. The next time you roll your eyes at “National Oatmeal Cookie Day” or “National Drive Thru Worker Appreciation Day,” myself included, let’s remember how much that recognition and simple thank you might matter to a fellow human. And, to boot, let’s try to implement a new sense of shared appreciation for each other that we are not afraid to express. Thank you. I mean it.

Your Friend,

Richard Phillips