Wednesday, February 16, 2011

♪ love the ones you're with...♫

Being intentional with cultivating family relationships can be something that can be easily overlooked - at least in our house - in the busyness of life.  This week I took advantage of Valentine's Day as an opportunity to make a specific effort for our family to practice encouraging one another.  A week before Valentine's, I printed off a sheet like this - one for each member of our family, including Todd & I. 

I fold them up and placed them in the centerpiece I had on the table and at some point, each person grabbed one, (without peeking whose name they had drawn!).  They had til dinner time on Valentine's to fill out their list.  Then, after dinner we took turns, each person reading what they had written to the person whom it was about.  It was a precious time, and with the exception of a few chuckles here and there, each person took it seriously and was completely sincere in the things they wrote and shared.  (Of course, I, as Mom, fought from tearing up the entire time!)  We heard things like:
"I love that you slept in the tent in our room with me" (Luke to Seth),
"I love that you have a strong will to do right and take a stand" (Todd to Bryce),
"I love that you keep me from being lonely" (Seth to Luke),
"I love your weirdness/strangeness" (Kate to Todd - and she really meant it!),
"I love that you're a girl pastor" (Bryce to me), and
"I love seeing you worship and your growing relationship with God" (me to Kate)
Our family can tend to be very loud and harsh and not always exactly loving toward each other.  I know...this shocks you, right?  Ha.  Well, yeah...*ahem*'s definitely one of those things we need to really work on, and this was at least a step in the right direction.  The other week I was amazed to see compassion flow freely from one of my boys for someone.  I was sort of surprised, and thought, "Why doesn't he act that way with his family??"  (Well, for one thing, probably because we as parents don't exactly do a stellar job modeling it, that's why!)  But rather than nag or bemoan the negative side of things, I thought, we just need to start making a point of being encouraging to one another! 

We had done something similar on Luke's birthday last month and I decided it needed to become a tradition.  At dinner I had everyone go around the table and each compliment Luke on something.  It was the first time we'd done this, and one of the other kids said "Hey, are we gonna do this for me on MY birthday??"  It was a good reminder how much we all crave affirmation, and how easy it can be to use special occasions to be intentional about giving it.  And it stirs appreciation within ourselves for one another!  So yes, we are adding it to the Clemmer Arsenal of Family Traditions!

Why not try thinking of one way you can encourage a family member today! 


Bets said...

I got teary just reading that!

Holly said...

I cried too. My goodness. Thanks for sharing! I really want to try to do some of those things now as well. My kids can be so mean to each other!!!! I hate it! And I know your right, we as parents don't do a good job modeling the right behaviors! So thanks for the good ideas and the great reminders of how important it is to tell each other we love each other!

Laura said...

I particularly liked Bryce's comment about you being a girl pastor!!