Belonging is a deep longing and basic human need that we all feel. Having a strong bond of unity as a family is a highly valued.
Showing appreciation for the members of your family changes the atmosphere in the home. Rather than feeling stuck with each other and tolerating one another, there is a sense of belonging, community and closeness.
One day my boys were arguing all day over tiny little things. They were putting each other down and name calling. I knew we needed to change the tone of how everyone was addressing each other, but I didn’t want to yell, shame or force them to “be nice”. I was reminded of Proverbs 15:1
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.”
It was so obvious that their mean words were creating a cycle of anger amongst my boys.
To break the cycle of a bad day or an argument between family members, a thankful heart is the key. When we focus on gratitude our thoughts are lifted upwards towards the giver of those good gifts. (James 1:17)
We are filled with hope rather than continuing to be stuck in our current situation. Even the apostles started their letters to the churches with appreciation and thanksgiving towards its member.
I have seen this same attitude change a bad day suddenly with the simple trick of naming things you are thankful for. Suddenly, you realize that your life is full of blessings and you begin to recall all the amazing ways God has faithfully cared for you. So perhaps that rotten day might turn out okay in the end.
But, for my boys and their grumpy attitude, I suggested that they each share 3 things that they appreciated or were thankful for about each member of the family. We went around and each child shared what they could. Some appreciations came easily, while others were harder to think about.
When one of my son’s couldn’t think of anything nice to say about his brother, we brainstormed. It brought out even more ideas of how they have been kind to each other in the past. Suddenly there was an outpouring of love and a softening of hearts. The boys moved on with the day with more patience and kindness.
Each year around Thanksgiving and again in February we focus on showing appreciation for one another as a family. A fun and simple idea is writing a note for a different family member each day for the whole month.
Ideas for Writing Notes of Family Appreciation
- Tape notes on bedroom doors
- Read notes to each other around the dinner table
- Leave notes on pillows
- Create your own note cards as an art project
- Mail notes to extended family
- Share notes at the beginning of family meetings
- Create a special tea-time with treats and notes of gratitude
- Leave a surprise note in a coat pocket, lunch box or bathroom mirror
- Read notes of appreciation and guess whom they were for
- Write scripture verses as a blessing for each other
- Take time to write notes of gratitude to God – use them for bedtime prayers and meal blessings
- Make a binder of all the notes you’ve written to look back on.
Think of all the learning your kids will do from this family appreciation activity! Not only will siblings be blessed by the kind words, but your children will get in lots of writing and reading practice too. You could encourage new vocabulary, copy work, adding scripture verses, and art into this fun family project.
When we take time to remember all the kind, loving wonderful things our family members have done for us, it encourages us to do more of those things. It helps build connection between siblings and raises self-esteem too!
Take some time the month as a family to show how much you appreciate each other.
Happy Thanks Giving
Meaghan Jackson of Joyful Mud Puddles is a gentle parenting coach. She has taken her passion for bringing peaceful calm to family life and pairs that with her background in education to help parents become more confident and well equipped. As a Christian family it is important for her to center everything on the Word of God.
Meaghan has a Bachelor of Education and Engineering along with several years of teaching experience at a private school. Since having children she has homeschooled her three boys and is an advocate for the homeschool community, organizing events and leading classes. As a successful business owner and entrepreneur, Meaghan understands the difficulties that many parents go through trying to juggle it all. Her family struggles and transformation is what led Meaghan to become a parenting coach because she desires for others to rediscover the joy in parenting. What better way to describe the messy, fun exciting life of a mom with three boys than Joyful Mud Puddles!
You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @joyfulmudpuddles
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