Thank You: Disarming Duo

“I love you” are three words in the English language that can carry a lot of weight but they can also be casual or confusing.  “Thank you” is very definitive with no question as to its meaning and gravitas.

Can’t Stop Saying Thanks

In recent years, I have become more acquainted with these words and their effect on me when I’m on the receiving end.  In turn I am more compelled by the day to make sure I communicate my gratitude to everyone from my family, friends, acquaintances and anyone I come in contact with.  In the past year I have become sensitive to wanting to say “thank you” to entities such as Publix Supermarkets for carrying a certain product or two, the lady who runs Late July food products or the local Starbucks store.  When it comes to our family physicians, dentist or teachers I am finding little ways to convey our gratitude for their care and concern with things like baked goods or fresh herbs from our garden.

What Appears Small is Grand

Some skeptics may balk at this sort of behavior especially when it comes to the areas where customer service is expected with a hotel or restaurant: as if because these folks are in a service industry job they should be good at it regardless of whether they receive verbal thanks from customers.  While technically speaking this is logical, it cannot be discounted how grand an effect a small thank you can yield.  When I was in college I could only work during the summers since I was a full-time scholarship student-athlete during the year.  Since I still trained through the summers I had limited options for jobs. I took one as a maid for the campus hotel at University of Florida.  What I learned in those summers was priceless in terms of what it took to run a hotel in the background.  Likewise I was exposed to how very messy and downright disgusting that people could be when they stayed in a room that wasn’t their own to have to pick up after their departure.  I remember vividly the pure joy I felt when I would begin cleaning a room and spot a small note of thanks with a couple of dollar bills.  The overall gesture meant so much to me that to this day I always leave a tip for the housekeeping staff when I check out of a hotel.

Does the How Matter?

I’ve mentioned a  couple of the ways I’ve tried to express thanks in person but I’m not meaning to say that we have to go beyond the actual words and message explaining what we are grateful for when directing thanks.  It’s far better that we at least go ahead and let that person(s) know how we feel in return for what they gave us whether or not it was warranted.  Although monetary tips and physical gifts are always nice they are not what truly matters.

Too Much to Do, Too Much to Say

Is this sort of behavior easy to be consistent with over time? Of course not.  It’s 2012 and most of us are not quite sure how this century has already gotten to this year so very quickly as 1999 wasn’t so long ago.  Keeping up communicating our gratitude to anyone beyond our own close family ties or friends is many times impossible as it’s difficult enough just doing so with the former.  However, I must urge myself and anyone else who is open to the idea that it is still very important to try to say “thank you” to each other even if it’s just the person at the hectic fast-food drive –thru window.  We need to hear that affirmation.  It also helps affirm ourselves that we are blessed to receive that assistance, service, care, et cetera.  This is also critical when the service rendered is not the greatest: imagine that there are some people who do their tedious, tiresome work daily and don’t hear from anyone that their effort is appreciated.  It’s no wonder they and we become so jaded and disconnected with each other.

Thanks for Reading

Your time is precious as it is for all of us respectively and so I’m also grateful that you are reading this right now.  My hope and prayer is that you are able to take from these words something to encourage you in your individual charted path for life.  Thanks as well for any comments, positive or constructive criticism alike: it helps me to become a better communicator and share my philosophy as it continues to evolve in my life’s journey here on Earth.

R.V.S. Bean




Bilingual Education: A Two-Way Street of Learning

When people ask me what language I learned first as a child, I find that question difficult to answer one way or another.  The fact is both my parents had recently left Europe when I was born a mere few weeks later in the United States.  I assume that I heard them speak both languages (Greek and English) and just used English more during my scholastic years.  It actually wasn’t until my early twenties that I had a renewed interest in speaking more Greek among my peers when I joined young adult groups through the Greek Orthodox church.  I was thankful that my mother had instilled a basic vocabulary in me so that I could build on it.

After I found out I was pregnant with my son back in 2007, I knew immediately that I wanted to speak to him in Greek.  When folks would ask me if I would I answered them affirmatively.  Then I realized that I did know a little bit of French from my school years and would also like to share that language with him while also learning more myself.

The first year of my son’s life I found it quite easy to settle into speaking Greek to him when home alone with him.  Usually my words were simple and sentences short, I figured this would be easier than I thought. How silly right?

Now as my son has barreled past his 2-year-old birthday, I have begun to realize my limitations.  Reading his English books have become a little more complicated in Greek, explaining things around us like a mini-lecture series for toddlers has also become dicey in Greek.  In fact, I’ve been humbled by the fact that my vocabulary is limited in Greek and now I need to learn more.  So together I’ve sat with my son through Greek video or computer programs.  My mother-in-love sent us the Rosetta Stone for Greek.

As my son T.A. spouts out words in both English and Greek everyday, my husband and I find ourselves going to “school” at night with our educational assistance.  It turns out that teaching your child another language benefits yourself as well.

I still share some French with my son and am blessed by the fact that there are loved ones in his life that also know French like his great Aunt and music teacher.  I have asked these ladies to let loose in French to him, I suspect it’s also been great practice for them.

Then there is the peer exposure.  My son and I have started a friendship this summer with another mother and son–the mother is from Slovakia.  She and I continue to chat in English while we also speak our Greek and Slovakian to our sons together.  We have noticed how the boys have swapped some words with each other and use them in their limited toddler conversations.  “Kok” means kick in Slovakian and my son says it repeatedly now when we go swimming in the pool and ocean.  I get a kick out of the fact that my son is speaking even one or two words of Slovakian without me even trying to teach him.

If you haven’t begun another language for your child or children, it’s never too late.  What’s better is if you participate in their learning process, even if you have a foreknowledge of the language.  I believe there are only benefits to knowing another language or two or three, et cetera. 

Many in the U.S. will pick Spanish as a second language to teach their children, that’s not a bad thing but it’s also not the only language you need to consider.  Try to pick something you and your partner in parenting will both be enthusiastic about so that the child(ren) will sense that this is something worthy to know and speak.

There is so much I can say on this subject but I just wanted to get the message out that teaching your kids more than just English is really a great idea and promotes extra-curricular education for both you and your child.  We have so many resources at hand now, like children videos, computer software and even classes for little ones pre-kindergarten.  If you have older kids, pick a country/region you would really like to vacation to one day as a family and make it a goal to learn that language on a conversational level.  Bilingual education is most effective when it becomes an activity involving the entire family, not just sending the kids to a language class in school.


Wyoming Life

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