By Maddy Miller
Distinguished Young Woman of Nebraska for 2013
I have always been told to have an attitude of gratitude in life. I was taught when I was young to remember to always say “thank you” when receiving a birthday gift, when you leave a guest’s home, when someone passes you the salt at dinner, or in any other situation. I cannot tell you how many thank you notes I have written after birthday parties, Christmas, or when someone has done a favor for me.
While it has been ingrained in me to always say “thank you”, I sometimes forget just how important it is. Sometimes we just assume that someone knows that we are appreciative for what they have done for us. We don’t realize that taking the time to stop a teacher after class to say thank you, or mailing a note to someone to tell them how grateful you are can really make a difference.
When I was in Mobile, Alabama for Nationals this past summer, I, along with my 49 Distinguished Young Women friends, strove to show our gratitude everywhere we went. Many of the people involved in Distinguished Young Women were volunteers and most of our meals, activities, and clothing were donated by local organizations and businesses. Our host families opened their homes to us for two weeks and provided us not only a home, bed, and meals, but also support throughout our stay. Therefore, we had a lot to be thankful for! To express our thanks, before we left each event we would sing a song together saying: “we are so grateful for all you do, we are so grateful, yes this is true, and what we’d really like to say, we send you all of our love today.” I loved to see the joy on the volunteers or donors faces when we sang this song. It only took a few seconds, but they knew how much we appreciated what they had done.
As we go into 2014, make it a goal for yourself to say “thank you” as much as you can. Don’t forget to send your thank you notes and say “please and thank you” at the dinner table. But also try this: Stay alert in everyday life and notice little things people do for you. When someone holds open a door be sure to look up from what you are doing to say “thank you”. Or if you are driving and another driver lets you go before them, wave and smile! These small forms of gratitude will spread happiness and kindness in your community. A simple “Thank you” may make someone’s day and possibly inspire them to do the same to others!
Maddy Miller is a college freshman at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in Dance with a Jazz concentration. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Maddy was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Nebraska for 2013. Learn more about Maddy here!