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When You Say 'thank You,' Mean It: And 11 Other Lessons for Instilling Lifelong Values In Your Children Hardcover – October 18, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (October 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144050377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440503771
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,284,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary O'Donohue developed a unique month-by-month program that she and her husband use to successfully educate their children about the twelve values her family holds most dear. The family of four lives and learns together in suburban Chicago.

Nancy Lilienthal, MS Ed is the director of 43rd Street Kids Preschool. She received her Master's from Bank Street College of Education. At her school, Nancy promotes positive relationships between children, parents, students, and the world in which they live.


More About the Author


It's every parent's nightmare: their child opens a gift from a well-meaning relative, and instead of, "thank you so much, Aunt Susie!" they say nothing. Then, when prompted by mom's "Hey, what do you say?" they give a sigh, an eye roll, then a long and forced: "thaaank youuuu."

This is exactly the type of situation that jolted author and proud mother of two, Mary O'Donohue to the sudden realization: prompting children to "say thank you" is merely training them to "act" grateful. It doesn't teach them to be grateful people. The same thing goes for other values. Telling kids to "say you're sorry" or "say please" doesn't teach them to be remorseful or respectful either. These words ultimately just scratch the surface of the values parents want their children to learn. Values like gratitude, respect for others, integrity and compassion are all qualities we hope to successfully pass on to our children as they get older. But how do we know we're teaching them in a way that's actually getting through? That question led Mary to develop a fun and practical program to effectively teach values to children in a way that has meaning and will stay with them as they grow into adulthood.

Mary and her husband Jim have been married for fifteen years and have two children. She balances being a mom with a long career in television production. Mary has worked for ABC, CBS, and NBC network stations, on shows such as "Today" and "Meet The Press," as well as on numerous music and entertainment programs including "MTV Unplugged," "Mariah Carey at St. John the Divine Cathedral," and "An Opryland Christmas;" and on many talk shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She's an avid traveler, having spent time in Ireland, England, Wales, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and China. She loves to read and has a passion for photography. Mary plans to donate at least 10 percent of her author's net profits to charities benefitting families and education.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mama Marlaine on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As Founder and Admin of the Parenting 2.0 group on LinkedIN, I am fortunate to review many new parenting books and enjoy also input from a wide variety of professionals and parents regarding all time favorites. After recently reading Mary O'Donahue's "When You Say Thank You Mean It" I predict with complete confidence that it is destined to become a classic, joining the ranks of Rudolph Dreikurs' "Children the Challenge" and Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish's "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids will Talk" in the parenting halls of fame. Each of those books still rate in Parenting 2.0's top five after decades in print - yes decades!

Written with humor and humility (essential ingredients for me, Mary's book provides practical, original tips for raising awesome kids. "When You Say Thank You Mean It" is not only a gift to parents, it is a gift to humanity. I didn't have it in my hands five minutes before giving it to my favorite postal provider and recommending also to my family physician. When books are "Hot" you have to share the good news and this one is smokin! Include business card pages for people to tear off on your future editions Mary, this book is destined for global enjoyment. Huge Hugs for a great gift!
Love Mama Marlaine
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By teacher mike on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. As a father of three, uncle to twenty-three and teacher of many more, this book resonates the truth about kids and values. You don't want your kids to just say it, you want them to mean it. I bought the first one for myself and four more on Amazon as gifts for my sisters families. At the bookstore, I was hooked by the retro cover, moved by the Thoreau quote, "Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around," and sold by the chapter titles, "Gratitude, Self Respect, Compassion and Inner Strength." Maybe Ms. O'Donohue can "turn our world" by starting another values revolution.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mom of 4 on January 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a Mom of 4 young children, (ages 10,9,7,6), I'm ALWAYS looking for advise on various children raising subjects. (And, also giving a lot of advise, too..). This is one subject "values" that I have not seen covered in the way Mary O'Donohue does in this book. I LOVE her guidelines and monthly exercises for this process and I've tried to incorporate this system into our family. I would HIGHLY recommend this book for ANY family with child(ren). It was quite an eye opener for me to carry out these exercises with my children, but, soooo happy we have done so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A H on November 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although our kids are still young (2 1/2 and 5 months), we are trying to instill our values in them. The daily, weekly and monthly exercises are good even just for adults or individuals, so don't hold back if you don't think your kids are ready for this! We plan on starting gratitude month ASAP and following up with the rest. Who couldn't benefit by doing things like writing down one thing you are grateful for each day?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TMAN on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I heard about Ms. O'Donohue's book from a friend and thought it sounded interesting. What an understatement! Her book offers excellent suggestions on how to instill morals and values in your child. This is not just a philosophical work but a practical guide with interesting exercises for parent and child to work through and discuss. I couldn't recommend this book more highly.
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