The Gift That Keeps On Giving
by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC
Our daughter made a great point recently. She said, "Why do we have to die before our friends and family say what wonderful individuals we were when we were alive? Why can't we have our eulogies before we die so we can appreciate what people say about us?" To make that point she started telling all her friends and family on Facebook what they meant to her. The response was an avalanche of 44 friends and family who wrote beautiful 'eulogies' back or 'LIKED' what she said. It was quite amazing.
Thanksgiving dinner is a great opportunity to express our thanks for our many blessings. It's also a great time for us to express our appreciation to the people who enrich our lives. Have you ever been the recipient of appreciation at such times? Didn't it feel good? I bet you will never forget those words of praise.
It often feels awkward to tell someone to their face what you love about them. The important thing is that you do it. When you declare your gratitude or praise, it gives the recipient a tremendous sense of worth. Face to face communication allows you not only to say what you feel, but also to reach out and hug that person as a demonstration of caring. Everyone loves affection whether they want to admit it or not. We have a friend who openly says he doesn't want to be hugged, but we do it anyway, because we believe that underneath it all physical touch is important and meaningful to every person.
You can also write your feelings down on a card and send it to someone who needs to know what you think about them. I have kept many cards of love from my children and also some from friends or from work colleagues. I never throw them away. They are in my 'brag' file and whenever I feel in need of being cheered up I visit those words of love. They are a gift that keeps on giving.
So, how can we teach our children to express their love and appreciation toward others? Here are some suggestions:
- Model what you want your kids to do. Express your love TO your spouse and to all your family members. Speak positively ABOUT them.
- Train your children to be positive in their everyday conversation rather than being critical and making hurtful comments.
- Make it a habit to say far more positive things to your kids than negatives. When they make mistakes, forgive and forget. Do not keep regurgitating the things they did wrong. Don't make sweeping statements like, 'You never get anything right!' Concentrate on the great things and comment positively when they are trying their best.
- Make supporting one another's interests and successes a family thing. Celebrate achievement together. Parent to parent, parents towards kids, kids to one another and kids to parents.
- Encourage your kids to write notes of love and appreciation to each other and to extended family and friends.
- Before people visit your home or your family visits theirs, teach your kids to greet them with a smile. Saying that they are pleased to see them would also be polite and appropriate. Kids need to always be included in greeting others and should not be ignored by adults. In like manner children should be taught not to ignore visitors.
By encouraging your family to express their love and appreciation, they will blossom with the encouragement and it will boost their feelings of worth. They will naturally continue this very important expression throughout their lives and teach their own children to do the same.
If you have any comments or questions on this subject, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our blog site at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com and our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org