As everyone is currently experiencing physical distancing outside our own households, we are experiencing social compactness inside our households. Sometimes this can cause aggravations and irritations within us and with each other. These aggravations can lead to being ungrateful or unkind words and actions toward each other.
God’s Word teaches us in Ephesians 5:15-21, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil … but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Also, read 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
So this time of social compactness gives us the perfect opportunity to purposefully encourage and build each other up. It is important to keep our hearts and minds focused on how God is so good to us and how thankful we are for the precious people He has put in our life.
In the Baker household we have a tradition called The Love Chair. We use this method to purposefully speak love and life into each other. Here’s a synopsis of The Love Chair activity:
*When our oldest two children were very young, our church hosted a parenting seminar. We gleaned many helpful, biblical insights during the seminar, but probably our greatest take away was the beginning of a family tradition called The Love Chair. The basic principle of this activity was to verbalize our love for each family member.
When the children were young, we designated a chair to be ‘the’ love chair. Every person would take a turn sitting in the chair while each family member would share why he or she loves or what he or she loves about that family member. This would continue until each person had his or her turn in the chair (parents included). As the children got older, they didn’t need the concreteness of a designated chair. They fully understood that we were celebrating and affirming each individual. No one was permitted to say the same thing about the person as another family member had said. Thus, with our family of six, each person heard five distinct ways they were loved as an individual. This tradition has had tremendous impact on our family. In the highs and lows of our lives we have used this tradition. We even had the announcement of a new grandchild presented to us through this tradition as our grandchildren stated why they loved their new baby brother or sister.
Purposefully, specifically telling someone how or why they are loved is powerful in cementing value through individuality, being intentional, and investing in each other.
- ________________ I love your curious nature in wanting to know more about how things _____________________ (work, grow, etc.)
- ___________________I love your passion for sharing the gospel.
- ___________________I love your desire to be the best ball player (vocalist, musician, artist, etc.) you can be with the ability God has given you in this area.
Our family has grown to fourteen now, with the youngest being four months old. This past week all fourteen of us were together and took time to speak love into each other. When my only granddaughter shared with me she melted my heart by saying, “Mimi, I love you because you love me with all your heart.” I certainly do!
*Excerpt from iParenting, Following God’s Model for Active & Effective Parenting, by Steve & Joyce Baker
Joyce Baker is the mother of four grown children and “Mimi” to four precious grandchildren. Joyce has served side by side with her husband, Steve, in ministry for forty years with a heart for encouraging families to grow together in Christ. Her ministry is marked with the recognition that every person is a unique individual with purpose and a need for those unique qualities to be encouraged. Dr. Kathy is excited to welcome her as an Associate Writer and Speaker for Celebrate Kids, Inc