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Kai Shiida’s “What I Believe”: The power of thank you

This is the latest in an ongoing series of speeches, delivered at morning assembly on the topic of “What I Believe.”

Wedd’s House Head Kai Shiida delivered this speech on Monday, April 28. It’s all about the power of the two simple words: thank you. As Senior Division Head Scott Cowie wrote in his weekly e-newsletter message: “[Kai’s] heartfelt address on being grateful for all that we have, and the importance of expressing our appreciation to those who look after us here at the College – the teachers, the groundskeepers, house-cleaning staff and those who work in food services –  was a poignant message for all in our community; students and adults alike.”

Kai Shiida: What I Believe

Let me start with one question. How many times do you say “thank you?” I try to say it as many times as I can. I say thank you when someone opens a door for me, when I receive a plate in the Upper Dining Hall, when someone does me a favour. I’ve never actually counted, so I do not know the exact number.

Sometimes when I’ve been in line to get food in the dining hall, some people don’t even bother saying anything. I think the number of “thank yous” I hear around the school is quite low. Sometimes, I do not hear any.

I strongly believe that it may be because many of us have grown up in such a blessed environment that we take too many things for granted. We have to recognize that we are extremely fortunate to be studying here, sitting in Laidlaw Hall this morning. We are studying at the school, which has great teachers, great coaches  and great facilities. If you spill something on the floor in the dining hall, someone will clean up for you. Classrooms, hallwaysband the student center are cleaned every night. The SAS is open every day. We have the bubble during winter. All these resources are unreal.

Not so many people are able to afford the way we live right now. In fact, only a few can. We are able to live the way we are living because our parents work very, very hard. They make sure we receive the best education we can find. However, we sometimes fail to recognize that so many other people are supporting you. Housekeeping work until midnight to make sure that all students and teachers have tidy classrooms and hallways. Coaches spend hours watching films to build different strategies for every game. They also make a practice plan in order to make sure we are well prepared for the games. Teachers spend many evening hours to mark tests and prepare materials for our classes, while many of them are also being parents to children of their own.

I believe that we complain way too much about little things, although many people around the world, even in this city, can’t afford the way we live now. Many of your parents were not able to live like us when they were our age, but they worked so hard to get their standard of living to where you are now. I’m not an exception. I realize that I sometimes complain about small things like a baby, but I do not fail to recognize others’ effort.

I believe in the power of the two words, “thank you.” As my mother always tells me, “people are not doing things for you to hear you say thank you, but isn’t showing appreciation the least and the easiest thing you can do to let them know that you appreciate them?”  Let’s show that we appreciate what we have, what your parents, teachers and others do for you to allow you to live happily.

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