by Natalia Gallo
Family time during Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time, is an opportunity rejoice in each other’s love. Often, it’s during these times it can be easy to forget that it’s really all about family – a time for families to come together. Families get together to show their love, support, and happiness as they spend the entire day and night celebrating and making memories to last a lifetime.
We suggest that you take some time to appreciate your family not only during the holidays, but all the time. Family gatherings tend to get hectic and emotions can run high. Sometimes it feels like our families bring on more stress than relief, and it’s easy to forget why we are all together. Here is a simple acronym I learned from Fr. Larry Richards to help you remember what family is really about.
F is for Forgiveness:
We tend to hurt the ones we love most. That’s because we know they will always forgive us. Try to break this habit. Don’t take advantage of one another’s forgiveness, but always be willing to give it. Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, but it sets you free from the pain of what they’ve done. Forgive your family for everything, small and great.
A is for Affirmation:
We as humans are fast to criticize, and slow to compliment, especially when it comes to our families. But in order to become closer, more loving, and more trustworthy, we must affirm each other. Make it a point to tell those in your family what they are doing right. You will begin to feel the joy grow inside you as you plant seeds of happiness in the hearts of those you love.
M is for Making Memories:
Every time you are together with your family, the opportunity to make memories is present. A simple gathering for dinner without television or electronics will cause the whole family to catch up, interact, and hopefully share in one another’s laughter. Whether you are all together for a grand wedding, or simply sharing in each other’s company over coffee, embrace the chance to make wonderful memories as a family all the time.
I is for Intimacy:
Being intimate is a crucial ingredient for the true growth of every relationship we are apart of, and especially our family relationships. Intimacy is a level of deepness that we achieve by looking within ourselves and each other. It goes beyond the surface of the everyday chatter, and searches for true feelings and emotions. When you can be intimate with someone, you are able to strip away the outer layer of yourself and show them who you really are, and in turn, they can trust you to show you who they are. This is vital for truly meaningful relationships in your family.
L is for Love:
Love, obviously, is the most powerful factor when it comes to our relationships. In fact, it’s safe to say that love is the purpose of the majority of our relationships. But love goes far beyond just saying the three words before you hang up the phone. Most people claim to love someone, but they seldom act like they do. Don’t take your family for granted and assume they know you love them. Look for ways to show them. Showing love is simpler than you think. Offer to do them a favor, invite them over for a nice meal, write them something kind, and think about them in loving ways. The feeling behind every act you do must be love–NOT obligation. Doing something out of obligation is monotonous, tiresome, annoying, and forced. Doing something out of love is a pure joy. How can you show love to your family today?
Y is for You:
Forget About Me, I Love YOU. Family puts each other before themselves. Think of ways that you can show your family that their needs are important to you. Family gives to one another and puts YOU before I. Put those you love ahead of you, and watch with great joy how your relationships blossom.
During this wonderful time, remember to hold your family close and cherish them. Relish in the memories you are creating, and be grateful to have everyone together. Surely they are doing a lot for you while you are going about your life. Don’t overlook opportunities to give back, show gratitude for their help and support, and let them know how much you love them!