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Please, Thank You, And I’m Sorry…


I’m an observer by nature, and one of the things I’ve noticed is how intent everyone seems to be on their piece of the pie nowadays. In a collective fashion we seem to be moving more toward a psychology of crisis, where we simply just don’t care as much about the people around us anymore. It starts in subtle fashions – the loss of courtesy, the gradual disappearance of “please” and “thank you,” a constant, tremulous pace that leaves us exhausted by the contest of everyday living. But most of all we begin to omit, to sacrifice, those two vitally important words, that mend wounds and heal the heat of anger and misunderstanding: “I’m sorry.”

When a nation, or a culture begins to leave human dignity at the curbside the ultimate result is disintegration. When we begin to think only of ourselves there is a dissolution of the whole. We are all part of the hive of humanity and we can’t afford to lose kindness, compassion, or a genuine comprehension of what is good and right. We must never lose sight of please, thank you, or I’m sorry.

One of the most remarkable examples I can offer you regarding these four simple words is a dialogue on the Zulus, considered the fiercest and the most murderous of the African tribes in the history of that continent. They rolled over most of Africa leaving nothing but fire and blood in their path, until they were finally stopped by the Dutch and English. Their primary leader, Shaka, once had every pregnant woman in the Zulu nation (in the entire nation) killed, because his favorite wife died in childbirth. This is not conjecture. It’s fact. It’s also fact that there were no words in the Zulu language for please, thank you, or I’m sorry.

Those words are the foundation of civilization, they are the brick and mortar that holds families, cultures, and even nations together. I don’t know who the author was, but I’m reminded of a piece that reminds us all of the importance of keeping our egos in our pocket and promoting please and thank you, and, I’m sorry.

“The six most important words: ‘I admit I made a mistake.’ The five most important words: ‘You did a good job.’ The four most important words: ‘What is YOUR opinion?’ The three most important words: ‘If you please.’ The two most important words: ‘Thank You.’ The one most important word: ‘We.’ The least important word: ‘I.’”

We are growing selfish, as individuals and as a nation. When we become selfish we lose the ability to truly love others. When we become sufficiently selfish, we lose the ability to love ourselves. Eventually we just become thieves, stealing other people’s emotions and returning nothing. I’ll leave you with a quote by the American soldier, Albert Pike – “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world, remains and is immortal.”