Let’s Respair: International Thank You Day 2022

Let’s Respair: International Thank You Day 2022

Recently I read a brilliant article written by Suzie Dent, Britain’s most (only?) famous lexicographer called From Respair to Cacklefart - the joy of reclaiming long-lost positive words.

I encourage you to read it but the short version is that there are words known as “orphaned negatives”, for example despair. Apparently, we also used to have a word, respair   which means fresh hope, an exit from a state of despair.

After the travails of the past couple of years, respair seems to be a state of mind which is being rationed. It feels like everywhere we look we are told to beware of our fellows - stay clear of them, vaccinate ourselves against them, don’t breathe their air - lest they damage us irreparably.

Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead was once asked what the first sign of human civilisation had been. We might expect her to talk about the development of tools or settlement in groups but instead she said it was evidence of a broken femur that had healed.

A broken femur prevents a person in a pre-technological environment surviving alone: gathering food and water and defence against predators are all but impossible. A group of people had been prepared to give up some of what allowed them to survive to nurse another person back to health. That, Mead felt, was the first civilised act.

How can we feel respair if caring for each other, the very thing that Dr Mead believed makes us civilised humans, is stopped by Covid?

Covid does not stop us from having positive communication with the people around us. The simple act of saying or receiving thanks lifts our mood and reminds us that we are still part of humanity.

At the moment Western Australia is dealing with a terrible bushfire season. As is so often the case, this means firies putting their lives on the line to save others. At Thank and Praise we are running a campaign through Facebook and on our own website to say a simple Thank You to these brave people, to acknowledge what they are going through.

Simply reading some of the messages we receive puts me into a state of respair. Messages like,

We could never manage without you, and the sometimes impossible and dangerous things you have to face on a daily basis.

Being a fire fighter is the most rewarding & unbelievable comradery that you could imagine. I was a rural fire fighter & cherished the amount of good that we achieved each & every time we joined together as a TEAM. 🔥

These messages remind us not only of the wonderful work that the firies do, often as volunteers, but also how much we in the community appreciate what they do.

To thank the WA DFES you can either put a message up on our Facebook group or go to our website.

If you would like us to set up a Thanking Wall for your organisation please either email us at info@thankandpraise.com.au or call us on +61 451 591 236.