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  • Writer's pictureMarlin Bjornrud

The Code Phrase

November 21, 2020


My third grade teacher was Miss Huglen. She was so thoughtful that she would keep extra jeans in the cloak room. If, after playing in the snow during noon recess, our pants got really wet, she would let us change into dry jeans for the rest of the school day.


There were times when Miss Huglen would give me a pair of jeans to wear. Then, after a few seconds of silence, she would say, “You’re welcome!” Why would she say that? Well, it was because I had failed to say, “Thank you,” and I came to learn that “you’re welcome” was a code phrase for, “What have I been trying to teach you all this time about being thankful?”


As parents, we all have used that code phrase as a way of trying to teach our children to say, “Thank you.” Admit it! And if you are like me, you have used it often

One of the most common instructions in the Bible is to “give thanks,” or to “be thankful.” How do we help our children follow those important instructions?


Let me suggest that we do it by giving thanks and by being thankful ourselves. Let the children see you as a thankful person and hear you often say “Thank you” to God and to others. Gratitude toward God and others tends to be very contagious. Try it.


Set aside the “you’re welcome” code phrase and set the example. Then watch God go to work.




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