Even I don't always agree with my opinion


What happened to, “No, Thank You.”?

Posted September 2, 2012 by Carter in Lifestyle

– Carter Stack

Awhile back we had three generations of family sitting around the kitchen table, us grandparents, the kids and the kids’ kids.
Grandma said, “Have some broccoli,” to the 9 year old grandson.
“I’m good.” was the reply.

I just thought that it was an expression he had picked up from his twenty-something mother and I didn’t say anything. The boy is nine and he was refusing a green vegetable. Been there, done that – but I still would have said, “No, Thank you.” (or I would have gotten “the look”)
Later, Grandma had made a veggie plate for snacking in front of a movie and she got another “I’m good”. This was because the grandson had pigged out on rice krisp squares without telling anyone. Again, I got it, but his response didn’t sit right with me.

The next day we asked if he would like to go to the beach for a swim. He didn’t even look up from the computer which he had been at for the last 3 hours when he said again, “I’m good.” The computer was shut down seconds later and we had a great time at the beach but his response was starting to irk me. I have gotten used to many changes in conventional conversation like saying, “Hey!” instead of “Hello” and never saying that you’re going to haul your junk out. Change is good but I felt this change of phrase changed the meaning of the expression, not just reworked the wording.

It finally stuck me when my wife offered to make one of the daughters some lunch before she went on a long trip. The response was, “I’m good.” and then it became clear to me. When you say, “No, thank you.” it’s not about you. It says the same thing but it is about the other person too. It at least acknowledges that the other person was going to do something for you and you recognize the effort on their part. It implies, “That is nice of you to offer to do that for me. Thanks, for that. However, I am not hungry and I am in a hurry to get home. Maybe next time I will take you up on that.” OK. that’s a bit over the top but it makes the point – It is about the person offering something – It’s not just about “Me.”

It kills the conversation and the communication. “Would you like me to help?” “No.” It is good to be direct and say what you think. Everyone knows where you stand and there is less miscommunication. But it is one more small attitude change that devalues others and refocuses people on themselves. Without extensive input and interaction with others self never learns, grows and improves.

Also, I’m good used to be praise or an affirmation. “You’re good!” – “Yes, I am good!”. Or, “I’m good and I am getting better everyday.” This new usage of that phrase dilutes its potency. “I’m good. – I just ate.” “I’m good. – I have go now.”

Being good has just become mediocre.

One Comment


    Another “change in conventional conversation” that many people have not adjusted to is the habit of referring to “children” as “kids”.

    As Marian T. Horvat points out in her article “Please Say Children, Not Kids”
    “Today we hear much about the importance of the dignity of man. At the same time, we adopt language, customs and dress that persistently reduce the dignity of men and women.”

    It’s a two-way street with children (not that I’m suggesting that Stack doesn’t travel both ways on his street.)

    But I think too often we (adults) forget what we are teaching our children and then we don’t like the reflections that we see.

    It takes due diligence on us all to ensure that our children, our children’s children and even our children’s children’s children are learning the lessons they really need.

    Children can’t learn everything they need to know from school or even their parents. It’s a community effort that will reward us all if we are willing to participate.

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