In a culture of indifference and vulgarity, a world where RSVPs are optional and asking a boy to wear a tie is unheard of, the well mannered modern mother can sometimes feel besieged. Why? Why should she insist on table manners and thank you notes from her children? Why should she cajole her children into dressing appropriately for the occasion? Why should she request that her children look the hostess in the eye when thanking her?
With a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, the modern mother can put those questions to rest, or at the very least, feel justified in insisting on traditional manners. According to the story, Thank You, No, Thank You, the act of being thankful can make you happier, healthier, more successful. For adults, this can mean higher incomes, higher resistance to viral infections, and better sleep. For children, it can mean a higher grades, fewer stomach ache complaints, and more satisfaction with school, friends, family.
Whatever those measures of "success" really mean, teaching children to say thank you, in writing and in person, helps them to acknowledge their own gratitude. It helps them recognize their own blessings, maybe even gives them a bit of humility and respect.
And so, well-mannered mothers and readers, you can all pat yourselves on the back, knowing that for once, social science agrees that you are doing something right. And if you want to put those studies to the test, trying being extra thankful, and see if you sleep better or maybe even get a raise.