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The hidden great value of Halloween

| November 19, 2023 1:00 AM

On Halloween evening, I worked in the Art Works Gallery. Every single kid said “thank you” as I handed out candy. Perhaps one in 10 little kids had parents who needed to remind them to say thank you. Halloween gives every kid the opportunity to say please and thank you 100 times in one night.

Learning to say “please” and “thank you” during the formative years is far more important than just learning to be polite. “Please” and “thank you” are bonding words. Those three words teach little kids that the world is good and values them. A kid who just grabs candy and runs never learns that. 

“Please” and “thank you” indicate that people can choose to help out. The use of “please” indicates that the child knows another has the option of saying "no,” but often that person wants to help. When a kid says “thank you,” it means I recognize you don’t have to do this. I don’t take you for granted. The use of “please” and “thank you” best ensures that little kids will not grow up to be entitled and demanding teens or adults. Those three words have a hidden but powerful effect, shaping the lives of little children who can’t help but be guided to know that they live in a win-win world of mutual benefits and expectations. 

Luckily, the importance of those words actually does seem to be genetically encoded, as parents across all cultures seemingly can’t resist telling their toddlers to say “please” and “thank you” during the formative years.  



FOSTER W. CLINE, M.D.

Sandpoint