One Saturday morning, some Cub Scouts came calling at our house – a couple of little guys accompanied by the father of one of the boys. The boys had plastic sacks in their hands and something on their mind. They said that they were collecting cans of food for the needy. So, I found some cans of food and gave them to the boys. They put the cans into their sacks, and when they had done that, they turned to go. The dad stopped them and asked them, “Now, what are you supposed to say?” The boys said to me, “Thank you!”

Parents are always trying to teach their children to say “thank you.” From our earliest days, we have had that drilled into us. Unfortunately, even though we have had the lesson repeated countless times, we still have trouble remembering it. If it were possible, it would be helpful to have our father or mother walking behind us all the days of our lives reminding us of that.

You get into your car on a beautiful morning and marvel at the brilliance of the sunshine and the color of the turning leaves. As you do so, your parent in the back seat says, “Now, what are you supposed to say?” And you respond, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you very much for this beautiful world!”

You come out of the doctor’s office where you have completed your visit, and the doctor has told you that all the tests look good and that there are no problems. You have a sense of relief as you make your way to your car, and your parent behind you says “Now, what are you supposed to say?” And you respond, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you very much for my health.”

A Ziggy cartoon showed Ziggy standing before a desk in the lobby of a business. The sign behind desk identified the business as the “Acme Memory School.” The secretary who was seated at the desk was saying to Ziggy, “Sir, according to our records, you’ve already taken our memory course.” We are often like Ziggy. We have trouble remembering – especially remembering to say “thank you.”

I heard of a grandfather who decided to try to help his small grandson remember to say thank you. In addition to singing the usual songs of childhood, he taught him to sing the “Doxology.” The two would sing it loud and long and often. One day as the boy and his grandfather were riding in a car and listening to a church service, the congregation began singing the “Doxology.” The little boy was very excited. He said, “Poppa, Poppa, listen. They’re singing our song!” Let that be your song. It is a great way of saying, “Thank you”

You have been blessed with many wonderful things. Now, what are you supposed to say?

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor, supply preacher and author who lives in Oxford. He can be reached at

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