A community is judged for its compassion by the value it gives to inter-personal respect. And no two words or phrases signify this better than "please" and "thank you". Both indicate a valuing by us of the other human being as someone who deserves our respect. When this is not voiced it shows a lack of consideration to the other person.
Sadly again I have to bring up this lack in the burgeoning societies in the world, and that includes our beloved Maldives too. Alas, this paradise is sadly devoid of this display of mutual self-respect. Many a time when I walk into a shop and pay for the goods I purchase, the young person at the check-out counter almost never reciprocates appreciation. A smile or a “thank you” seem distant thoughts as they direct the attention at the next customer even as the change is dropped into the customer’s hand. There is not a thank you in lieu or even a smile. This visit leaves me with feeling that by my visit was just a favour I had done to them rather than they being grateful for my patronage. That word grateful may seem a bit harsh to several readers in the new-age think, for why should they be grateful for what we buy? After all it was an exchange and benefit to both sides; the customer paid for it and the shop dispensed it. It was a fair deal, says their ego. The soul within, meanwhile, doesn't want to battle with his body because it wants peace at whatever cost, and lets the internal argument rest. In the final scheme of things in this Dhunya, the ego wins most of the time because the ego’s prodding and enticement to be as disruptive to the soul is its mandate and so this factor is plugged into the covert test we are all subject to in this world of form.
But all who have dealt with these golden words or phrases know the advantage we have to move closer to the person we interact with. Here our soul wins. But for these to be articulated with finesse and abandon, one needs to remove much of the pride we harbor in our hearts and let in humility as our driving force. Yes, these words are precious and yet we keep them out of our daily lexicon depriving ourselves of the compound benefits of spiritual elevation we receive here and now, and for so much more in the Hereafter.
It's not only at the curb-side shops and department stores, but at airlines offices, government front office counters, doctor’s clinics and hospitals. This spectacle is played out daily, continuously.
Perhaps we have gone too long a stint without much priority to value-education rather than information-banking in our schools and parents too, in their eagerness to make the most of this world, struggle and not too infrequently by immoral means, to amass the wealth we can't use; unaware of the observant presence of our kids who imbibe every bit of this immorality that will stud their life character too. This, even when we know that at long last we can't have any more than just the footprint of our final slumber in a few cubic feet of ground.
A ubiquity of "Please" and "Thank-you" in our society in our daily life interactions with everyone we meet, can begin a revival of lost values. With the mutual self-respect these beget, we can do wonders to society to bring to bind the common culture that is the essence of our homogeneity, or as others may want to call it, unity in our diversity. Used frequently at home, in schools, at the playground and at the workplace, these two words will etch in the formative minds of our children and youth, the truth of our oneness and bring forth the compassion and the trust that will make society prosperous yet humble.