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Talking It Over: The thought that counts

There is a common phrase - it is the thought that counts.

Something said quite often, especially when you don't really like the action that was taken, gift given or words stated.

It is a good statement to make as long as it is true.

I have often wondered when someone makes that statement if they realize what they are saying. If you are unhappy with a gesture someone makes towards you, and are told that it was the thought that counts, wouldn't it make more sense if the person had actually put some thought into it before making the gesture?

For example if a neighbor does you a favor by mowing your lawn, it might be appropriate to buy him some lawn mower gas. But if the person happens to own a gas station, that might not be the best way of saying thanks. Instead, give it some thought. Maybe he is a bachelor and would rather have a home-cooked meal or loaf of fresh bread.

Similarly when sending a card or visiting hospital patients or the home-bound, give some thought to timing, gifts and words. Meal time might be great if you bring a meal with and call ahead but not if it interferes with a schedule. When selecting a card, take the time to read it and find one appropriate to the person and situation. If the person looks terrible, you better be ready to lie a little and come up with some positive comments.

In some situations when it comes to birthdays or anniversaries, the statement is made that your presence is your gift. I, for one, get confused by this if I can not be present. Does that mean I should send a gift or just not do anything? I have started to just send a card in order to let the person know why I could not attend and that I am still thinking of them.

It is wonderful when people are thoughtful and considerate.

But if you want someone to know how much you appreciate them or think about them then actually do the job. Put some thought into your words and actions. Make your gifts, words or gestures appropriate for the person you are in contact with. Then when someone says, "it is the thought that counts," it will be your thoughtfulness that really counts.