“Let’s do greatnesses,” my youngest frequently suggests. This is one of her favorite family rituals. Going around the room, each of us focuses on one person at a time.
“The greatness I see in you, Lilyanna,” I say, “is that you love deeply.”
“Yes, I do,” she responds with a self-conscious grin.
“The greatness I see in you, Lilyanna,” her older sister says, “is that you are willing to try new things.”
“Yes, I am” she replies, beaming.
And so it goes with each of us finding a great characteristic about Lilyanna. Then she states a positive characteristic about herself. “I’m a good swimmer,” she acknowledges.
“Yes, you are,” we chorus.
Then we move to the next person and begin the process all over again with that one. How pleasant to spotlight each other’s positive points, recognizing their beneficial traits rather than pound on our negative qualities each of us are already painfully aware of.
Screenwriter David Swift wrote, “If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.” The codicil is also true: if we look for the best in others, we will find it.
While families of all shapes and sizes spend time together, we choose the words we say to one another. Our speech can build up, recognize potential, and cast a great vision. Time and togetherness is opportunity to say the most important words I want my nearest and dearest to know.
- You are loved.
- There is a God and He is crazy in love with you.
- You have an important place in the universe.
- Dream big.
- Whenever possible, love your family and siblings.
- Be early.
- Your integrity and character are your legacy.
- You make a difference in the world.
- You can say no.
- Grace is the gift you give others and yourself.
- When you look for the best in others and yourself, you will find it.
- Life is to be enjoyed. Laugh, love, listen, cry, rest, read, tell stories, explore, dance, sing.
- Honor, respect, and honesty are the foundation of excellent relationships.
- Choose your friends carefully.
- Who you are is more important than what you do.
- Never give up.
- Pain and struggle are part of life, but they are not your address.
- Celebrate often.
- Fill your life with splendid music, excellent literature, pleasing aromas, and creative spaces.
- Never lose your sense of wonder.
- Choose a marriage partner who has complementary ethics, morals, and world-view.
- Spend your life, not with the person you can live with, but with the one you can’t live without.
- Failure is not terminal.
- Mistakes are not mistakes when you learn from them.
- Have something to do that is yours.
- You are always invited, but never obligated, to attend family gatherings.
What gems do you want to be the words that echo in the minds and heart of those in your circle of influence?
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)
Peggysue Wells is the author of more than two dozen books and has collaborated with Theresa Flores on the bestselling book The Slave Across the Street and also Slavery in the Land of the Free: A Student’s Guide to Modern Day Slavery. A frequent radio guest, she writes for magazines, instructs at writers conferences, and serves as a writing coach and conference speaker. Learn more at PeggysueWells.com