My baby nephew does not know when to say thank you – or so I thought.
I noticed this the last time I babysat. His little manners were so cute, tossing out ‘thank you’ left and right. But his timing seemed to be off. He would show me something that he needed help with, or point out something that he wanted, and say thank you before I even complied.
While my first thought was that his infant vocabulary was actually reaching for ‘please,’ further observation made me think again. Perhaps he was giving me a much needed lesson in faith etiquette.
Suppose my nephew, who is old enough to walk, but still young enough that he depends on adults for just about everything, has learned expectation. Not in a spoiled, give-me-everything-I-want sort of way, but in the sense that he realizes that adults who love and care for him will give him the things that he needs.
Is it possible that, because this baby trusts me to look out for his best interests, and since his life experience has given him no reason to believe I would deny him, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are interchangeable in his little mind? Maybe his brain has not placed much emphasis on distinguishing between the two because most things that he asks for tend to get done.
Of course this will change with time, either when adults correct him enough or he begins to hear ‘no’ more often. However, as a baby, most of the things that he asks for are not ridiculous or even problematic. More times than not, his requests are for things that he actually needs. And since we love him, we want to see that those needs are met. Also because we love him, we grant his reasonable desires when at all possible. Basically, when he asks for something, our answer is typically yes. So why wouldn’t he start, rather than end, with thank you?
Child-like faith, in all of its beautiful innocence, is something to which every adult should aspire. Imagine having enough faith to boldly approach God with confident expectation when we stand in need of something. Because we know that He supplies all of our needs. Because we believe that He loves us, and therefore has our best interests at heart. Because we have learned through experience that we can trust Him. Because when it comes down to it, unless it is something that would cause us harm, or something that we are not ready for, we, too, can use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ interchangeably. Not because He has to do things for us, but because His character has demonstrated that He wants to do things for us. Because we have learned that the perfect time to say thank you, is in advance.
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.