Thursday, October 25, 2012

Simple Acts of Kindess: Tangible Ways to Love your Neighbor- Family

Family. They are part of who we are and where we come from. The people in our families are a powerful shaping factor in what we become, the values we hold, and what we believe.

Family is where most of us learn what love looks like.

For me personally, the people in my family can be the easiest to love and the hardest to love.

We have gone through life together, through very hard times and very good times, creating a bond of love that can't be broken.

Yet, when I am having a bad day, they are the first ones I lash out at. When I am busy and overwhelmed with life, they are often the ones I neglect.

But if I want to be an example of Christ, I need to be an example in how I love my family, and how I treat my family. I would hope that people from the outside looking in can recognize that our foundation is a Greater Love.

As Sybil shared with us this week, LISTENING is a very good first step in knowing your family's needs, hurts and passions so you can love your family better.

I want to challenge us all to go beyond our defined family responsibilities, and take those extra steps, those simple acts of kindess, to be an example of love in our homes and among our families.

Here are a few simple ways to get started:

Do something helpful, just because:
*Do somone else's designated chore(s), especially the ones they dislike the most.
*Fill their car up with gas.
*Wash their car.
*Wake up early and make a big family breakfast (and then clean up the mess :).
*Help out an elderly family member by doing big tasks, such as washing their windows and blinds or organizing closets. My grandma use to love it when I would come over polish her cabinents with lemon oil. More ideas include taking them to run errands, grocery shopping with them or for them, and just spending quality unrushed time with together.

Do something thoughtful, just because:
*Cook a different family member's favorite meal each week.
*Get up early to start a pot of coffee.
*Write a letter or send a card (especially for those of you, like me, whose family is far away).
*Ask specific questions, about specific issues going on in their lives (this goes back to the listening!)
*Be aware of other's love languages, and love with them!
*Leave encouraging notes or scriptures- on the bathroom mirror, in lunch boxes, on their car windshield while they are at work, or make encouragement mailboxes for each member of the family to "mail"  and recieve notes.
*Be aware and sensitive of family members who may be lonely or who are going through hard stages in life. Possibly a great aunt who recently lost her husband or a cousin going through a divorce. Consider ways you can include them in family events or give them extra support in whatever they are going through.
*Show an interest in their hobbies and passions.
*Remember, Simple Things can make a big difference!

Spend time together:
*Be intentional in setting aside time. Make it a priority. If you are seperated by distance, make phone or skype dates each week.
*Let family members take turns choosing activities to do together.
*Spend time volunteering together, growing and strengthening values of love, kindness, and generosity.
*Pray together.
*Cook together.
*Eat meals together.
*Set aside time after breakfast or before bedtime to do a short devotional together.
*Start a family project together- redecorate a room, plant a garden, scrapbook, build something, or make Christmas cards for some very deserving kids.

These are just a few thoughts to get you started. Please share your ideas!

I must close this post with this note. Many families, possibly even your own, do not have a foundation of a Greater Love. Families are not always the supporting and strengthening units that God intended them to be. Many homes are broken, and I come from one of them. Sadly, many homes are not safe places, but rather, are places of hurt and abuse. I hope you will join me on Saturday, as my friend JD shares with us from her very personal experiences, how to love in these kinds of family situations.

To read the rest of this series, click here. 


Sybil said...

I think that sometimes we lash out at the ones we love the most, our families, because we are the most comfortable with them. We are able to let our guard down, and act without reservation, since they know us most intimately. Love your ideas on how to show the Greater Love in our families!

Jill Foley said...

Thanks for all these great ideas! I was blessed to be raised in a family that regularly demonstrated love for one another...but then it all fell apart....and it's fallen apart even more in the past couple years.

Thankfully, God has given me my own family now and I can pass on some of what I've learned.

Lizzie said...

Thanks for the link :) They are such great ideas too!

lifedrawnout said...

Great ideas! Thanks...
awesome post :)