5 Ways Families Can Express Love to One Another
Moms dream of a loving family where children honor parents and are kind to one another. We daydream of a Hallmark movie life where everyone is always doing and saying the right thing.
Life is not like that.
However, families can learn to be loving and kind on a daily basis. Moms can’t expect that to magically happen. We have to be proactive.
My children got into a lot of arguments when they were younger so I had to work extra hard to teach them to fight fair and to express love to one another.
You can listen to my podcast Fight Fair HERE.
Here are some things I encouraged in my children to help them love each other in ways that could be understood and received. My children enjoy loving and being loved, but I had to show them how to do it.
Words of Affirmation
In our house, we play the Encouraging Game. Basically, you choose one person, and everyone else shares things they appreciate about that person. It’s a great way to feel really built up.
Words of affirmation are a way of speaking your loving thoughts aloud.
- “I love the way you cook us dinner, Mom.”
- “You are a great artist!”
- “You are so compassionate when I get hurt playing outside.”
- “I love to hear you pray. You have such a beautiful devotion to the Lord.”
Words that zero in on what’s great about the other person help that person realize how special they truly are.
The world can beat us up. Let your home be a place of life and encouragement.
“Who did my dishes?”
What a pleasant surprise! Someone had secretly done Tom’s least favorite chore. He was thrilled beyond measure!
Serving is like that. It is a way to do something tangible for someone that needs help.
Maybe someone has a broken arm. So, Mom says, “How can we serve Frieda?”
Everyone brainstorms ways to help. Because they have chosen what and how they want to serve, it’s often fun!
Then Mom lavishes praise on those who serve!
Sacrifice goes a step further and gives up something that you really want to another person.
- “You can have the piece of cake with the big flower.”
- “Baby Tina can move in with me while Aunt Julie is here.”
- “I’ll miss the football game to go to your recital. I care more about you.”
Serving and sacrifice place high value on others and when done willingly from the heart, communicate love very effectively.
For more on serving and working hard, read Raising Mommy’s Big Helpers to Be Hardworking Responsible Adults HERE.
Manners matter! Sometimes we train our children to be polite to adults and guests but allow them to be rude to one another.
We should invest more time into treating those closest to us better than anyone else.
Manners were invented to make others feel valuable and so that everyone would know what to expect in social and awkward situations.
Here are some basic manners that will express love:
- Say please and thank you always.
- Greet one another each morning. “Good morning, Daddy.”
- Say good night to one another at night. “Good night, Sam.”
- Address adults, including parents, with Sir and Ma’am. “Yes, sir, I would be glad to take out the trash.” “No, ma’am, I haven’t seen your purse.”
- Say “excuse me” when your body makes noises.
- Talk about people in a positive way.
- Avoid negative joking, coarse humor, and sarcasm.
- Say, “May I please have….” Instead of “Give it to me!”
- Introduce your siblings and parents to others. “Mrs. Green, this is my sister Jenna. Jenna this is my piano teacher Mrs. Green.”
- Clear your place from the table.
- Put away what you take out.
- Help clean up.
- Help others with their chores if they look overwhelmed.
- Say “I’m sorry I did….. Will you please forgive me?” when you do something wrong.
- Accept apologies. “Of course, I forgive you. I love you.”
- Thank others when you see them doing chores that serve the family like setting the table, cooking dinner, and cleaning the bathroom.
- Pleasant talk at the dinner table.
- No phones at the dinner table.
- Answer questions with complete thoughts instead of mumbling or saying “Fine.”
- Ask before borrowing. Be gracious if the answer is “no.”
- Let others have the best, the biggest slice, or the prettiest.
- Make sure people feel included.
Expressing Interest in What Interests Them
“Who won the game?” Anne askes her brother Frank who loves football. It makes him happy when his team wins.
Anne, who hates sports and loves music, can still express interest and rejoice with Frank when his team wins.
Expressing interest in others’ interests makes them feel valuable. When you venture into topics that are clearly important to another person, you place high value on them.
Yes, it means cheerfully going to ballet recitals, plays, and soccer games. It also means watching an action movie when you’d rather watch a rom-com or vice versa.
Showing love in this way has an added bonus! It sometimes opens up an interest in things we never thought we’d enjoy.
Why on earth do I say that having a cheerful heart expresses love to the rest of your family?
Well, spend time with a grumpy person, and you will soon feel very disrespected and not cared about.
Being grumpy requires you to look at the negative side of things and that includes people. Being negative tends to go along with being critical of others which is not loving.
On the other hand, gratefulness leads to a cheerful heart. People who count their blessings often think of their family members as blessings, rather than folks they just have to put up with.
When you view your family members as a blessing, you place high value on them. Placing high value on someone is part of loving them.
Often when children or spouses fight, it’s because they are seeing the other person as an enemy rather than a blessing.
For more on cheerfulness, read my blog post The Glad Game HERE.
How Can We implement These 5 Things?
First, you can list these 5 ways to express love to your kids (or read the article aloud) and ask, “When people say affirming words to you, do you feel loved?” As you go down the list, it might open up some great discussion.
Of course, we find that different things are higher up on each individual’s list, and we can celebrate our differences as we work to help each other know that they are loved.
Second, you can point out when you see your kids engaging in behavior that is loving and kind.
Third, you can study examples of people showing love in the Bible to one another.
Fourth, you can role play specific ways to express love, including how to express love when you are feeling sad or grumpy.
Lastly, pray for and with your family that they will grow in expressing love to one another.
For more insights on parenting, read my blog post 6 Things I Learned about Parenting and Homeschooling from Jesus in Luke 8-9 HERE.
We are called to grow in love so don’t be discouraged when there are failures. Keep track of all the successes as you watch your family’s love bloom.
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Seven R’s of Homeschooling, Travel God’s World Geography, Travel God’s World Cookbook, and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com. Read her blogs at PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Podcast.