| Dr. Kathy Koch |

Connection Matters.

As we continue into what is known as the holiday season, who do you hope to connect with? Who do you hope to go deeper with in your friendship? How might that happen? How will you make the time? (You probably won’t find it.) We’re all better off connected and not isolated.

If you’ve heard me speak or been hanging around for a while, you probably know that my brother, Dave, married one of my best friends, Debbie. The three of us have a lot in common and we enjoy spending time together. I will spend most of December with them and I guarantee you especially Debbie and I will watch many Christmas movies. Yes, we watch Hallmark movies.

Most of the movies are harmless fun. Sure, the plots are repetitive, the actors and actresses appear in more than one, but for the most part, they’re well done and a fun distraction. We laugh and occasionally shed some tears. We enjoy predicting how long before our guess of who falls in love is proven true, when the first snow will fall, whether there will be a snowman-making scene, and how many minutes before the movie’s end for the first kiss.

I recently joined a group on Facebook for those who watch Hallmark Christmas movies. (There are 350,000 members!) I did not realize there was such a thing, but oh my goodness! Occasionally set designers, costumers, and actors and actresses post behind-the-scene photos.

Members are seriously knowledgeable! You can post a question about the title of a movie and give only three or four details that I think are relevant to many movies and before you know it, hundreds of viewers will give you the title and their opinion of the movie. It’s actually rather remarkable.

I’ve seen pictures of members’ living rooms and bedrooms decorated to look like scenes in Hallmark movies. I can’t count the number of questions posted about Christmas trees and lights.

What’s most meaningful is the number of women who have commented that watching the movies keeps them close to their moms who they used to watch with who are now deceased. Within an hour, many will comment with meaningful messages of support. They may share similar experiences and then others will comment on those comments. People are paying attention! (“Many” isn’t a strong enough word. For example, 1,900 people posted in just 6 hours to encourage a woman who recently lost her son and sister.)

A true community has been formed around something as simple as Hallmark Christmas movies. I’ve watched the satisfaction of connection. I’ve seen needs met, joys shared, and sorrow divided. I certainly pray that members also have real offline connections, but I won’t question the value of what many have found here.

I hope you find connection this month and next. Think about what brings you joy and share it. Joy shared isn’t divided; it’s multiplied.

Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, and Axis. She also speaks for other organizations, churches, schools, and pregnancy resource centers. In addition, she hosts Celebrate Kids conferences through their Ignite the Family conference division. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured in Kirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has written and published five books with Moody Publishers, including Five to Thrive, Start with the Heart, Screens and Teens, 8 Great Smarts, and No More Perfect Kids (with Jill Savage). Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.