Is your family characterized by kindness?
Are they characterized by kindness when they are feeling stretched, stressed, or overwhelmed? Kindness needs to be an every day activity in our homes and we must work to make that our reality.
I don’t know about you, but on the days that things go my way… I’m pretty much the perfect picture of kindness.(Ha!) When I don’t oversleep and the house isn’t a mess, I can speak kindly and respond to my family with encouraging words and actions. But… forget to set the alarm, run out of coffee, or miss the bus and my words and actions are anything but kind.
My goal is to build the character quality of kindness so firmly and permanently into my personality, that regardless of my circumstances my kindness still shines brightly.
How about you? Do you want to be known for your kind reactions and responses? If so, we’ve got some work to do.
Kindness is one of those character qualities that takes continual and continuous practice to become habitual. As we discipline ourselves to slow down and think about our words and responses, before blurting them out thoughtlessly, we will begin to be characterized by kindness.
Ask your family to make two lists. On the first list, have them record all the words or comments that seem unkind or hurtful. On the second list, make a record of all of the encouraging and gentle words that come to mind. Now, consider the two lists.
Ask your family members to evaluate which list more accurately describes the conversation in your home. (ouch)
Put the list of positive and encouraging words on the refrigerator. When you hear a family member speaking unkindly, lead them to the fridge and ask them to find their words on the list. If the words aren’t there, remind them that your new family paradigm is kindness and they must choose words that fit the kindness mold.
You may have certain family combinations, (brother/sister, mother/son, sister/sister, etc.) which find it particularly difficult to speak kindly to one another. Continually encourage those groupings to listen carefully and speak slowly as they communicate with one another. Sometimes, assigning those two family members to accomplish tasks together, without allowing any unkindness, can break the cycle of negative communication and lead to kind speech and even light-hearted banter.
As we are kind to one another, as we are tenderhearted toward one another, and as we extend forgiveness to one another, we will be following the example of our Lord. He exhibited kindness to us when we were completely undeserving and it should be our privilege to do the same for others.
Kindness will bind the hearts of a family to one another. Unkindness will break those bonds of love. Commit to becoming a family characterized by kindness and watch your family relationships grow and flourish.