Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Thank You

posted by Nell Minow

The two most powerful words I know are “thank you.” A simple statement of acknowledgment and gratitude transforms the person who says it as well as the person who hears it. If every one of us just added five “Thank yous” to each day we could change the world. So many souls shrivel waiting for some recognition. I love this poem by Jan Struther:

Hard words will break no bones:
But more than bones are broken
By the inescapable stones
Of fond words left unspoken.

Watch this clip by Laura Trice from Ted Talks about the power of saying “Thank you.” Some people will object to her suggestion that we ask for thanks, but what she is saying is that it can be a gift to those closest to us to confide in them about what we are proud of. She is not telling us to be needy or demanding. She is suggesting that we share ourselves and let those we love share in return.

A similar idea comes from writer Carolyn See, who recommends writing a “charming note” every single day to help launch a writing career. She suggests you write to authors and editors whose work you like to let them know — specifically — how much you appreciate them. To be charming, a note must be hand-written on beautiful note paper and it must not ask for anything. It’s a good idea to leave out most details about you and your aspirations because that is an implied request for a favor.

I think a daily “charming note” is a great exercise for anyone with or without a specific ambition. The discipline of gratitude is essential for all of us but we often feel we are too busy or worry that it makes us too vulnerable.

So thanks to all of you who visit this site and especially to those who post comments, whether praise or complaint. I am very grateful to you all. And here is one more story I love about the importance of expressing appreciation.

  • jestrfyl

    You know, I think some of the best ads I have seen on TV in a long time are the “Pay it Forward” ads for a product I cannot recall (though I think it was a credit card or a bank. Now wouldn’t that be ironic). But I do remember the stream of gestures and how cleverly they linked together in a Moebius Strip of little graces.
    I suppose that thanking a movie media reviewer is considered inappropriate. It would seem like an attemopt to influence future reviews. So on behalf of we who read and attend to your reviews and previews, “Thanks”. There are not many reviews I take seriously because I do not know much about the reviewer. But you have made the effort and taken the time to allow we who read your reviews to know a little about you. So that gives more significance and heft to your comments.

  • Nancy

    I, too, would like to add my thanks for your reviews. Whatever your own views, you provide enough information for readers to make their own choices, whether for their children’s viewing or their own. I feel as though I have an ally in you while I try to raise my girls in a world that wants them to grow up too fast. Even my 16-year-old daughter knows that I first check Movie Mom before she can see a movie so at least we can talk about issues that it raises. I really appreciate the help.

  • iorek

    I was not so impressed with the Ted talk. When she says to an audience of strangers, “thank you for being such great husbands and wives” and “thank you for changing the world with your ideas,” it may be a sweet sentiment to express but Trice has no absolutely no basis for saying it. I’m sure there are many people in the audience who are terrible husbands or wives, and the majority of the audience probably sits on its collective butt and does absolutely nothing to “change the world.” Statistically, Trice has a far better chance of being accurate if she tells her audience, “stop being selfish and lazy.”
    Under those circumstances, what serious person would take comfort from the compliment of a stranger? We live in an era of false praise, and it is far better that these people get to work than that they feel self-satisfied based on the blandishments of someone they’ve never met.
    Having said that, I agree with the previous commenters and thank you for your hard work and great reviews. I always enjoy them.

  • Nell Minow

    And thank you, jestrfyl, Nancy, and iorek for your lovely comments! I was not expecting that! jestrfyl and Nancy, I appreciate your kind words about feeling that I reveal something of myself with what I write here and that I feel like a trusted advisor. I like to think of it as a conversation with friends and people like you make it feel like a wonderfully welcoming community.
    And iorek, no one is suggesting false compliments or gratitude. But specialists in child development and specialists in organizational management speak of “catching someone doing something right” to provide positive feedback and encourage good behavior — that’s the point of the Buchwald story I included. I am lucky enough to have a husband who is the best at showing appreciation for almost everything I do, sometimes even for the appreciation I show him. It lights up my life and inspires me, too. You say Tice might be more accurate if she tells the audience to stop being selfish and lazy; I know she would be more effective if she thanked them for listening and contributing.

  • Tim1974

    I would also like to take a moment and thank you for the hard work you do and providing numerous categories to enjoy and/or particiapte in. I find that you not only review a movie from an objective point of view, but also add your feelings about topics. I would also like to thank you for allowing me to express my opinions. Even though we have much different ideas on topics as the presence of a double standard when it comes to nudity n films, I have appreciated you allowing me to express my thoughts without edit. Thanks and keep up the great work !!

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you, Tim! I appreciate your comment very much and am glad to have you as a part of the community here.

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