Thank roots from the same root as think, and comes from the sense of thinking good thoughts, or thinking of gratitude. Our thankfulness erupts from the thoughtful action, behavior, or nature of the object of our thanks.
“Thank gods for that guardrail, or I’d be catching fish for lunch!,” one might exclaim. The thoughtful placement of a guardrail in a precarious stretch of road or path paid off.
To be thankful requires acknowledgment of the premium value of thought. That, given foresight, the daily world improves significantly. We do not find ourselves in that state of nature. We find ourselves in a world divided between the thoughtful and thoughtless. That to civilize means becoming more thoughtful.
But humans do not merely choose to think. They must learn to think, and have the opportunity to think. Thought must be cultivated, conditioned just like any other practice or behavior.
We often hear people complain of those who lack manners. The complaint arrives that someone did not say thanks, or did not offer gratitude. But, again, no automatic reflex exists to provoke that behavior. It must be learned. It must be taught.
Thanks for the thinks, teachers! Without you we would never know to be thankful, no matter how much we might have to be thankful for. And without you we would not find the ways to fill our world with more thankable things.