Christmastime is an emotionally magical time of year for most families. We feel inherently connected to the seasonal sensations of peace, love and joy that literally vibrate throughout the air! It’s amazing how we shift from self to selflessness as those vibrations drive us to sacrifice our time, money and express our love to others through gift giving.
Just what is this secret element or power that drives this beautiful way of living at Christmastime? I believe it can be summed up in one word, charity. How can charity literally transform so many people? Marvin J. Ashton clarified the essence of charity in a most excellent way when he wrote, “Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.”
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He continues to explain, “Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.” So how is it that we put the secret power of charity to use in our homes all year long?
One source of major contention in families stems from the judgmental attitude of the parent towards their teen. As parents we have unintentionally picked up the negative habit of bashing when we constantly issue judgments such as, “Why didn’t you…?” “You were supposed to…” “You forgot to…” “You need to…” “Why are you so...?” We simply do not realize the damage this inflicts on the parent/teen relationship. However, awareness is the first step to change and healing.
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The following awareness experiment will be a real eye opener! I know it was for me. For the next week become aware of each conversation with your teen. If you are like most of us, your time is very limited with your busy teen. On a good day we thankfully get a quick “hello” after school and a few minutes at dinnertime, but time is truly limited.
Become aware of how you act when your teen first comes home. Notice if your comments are kept upbeat and encouraging or does the conversation evolve to bashing i.e. judgmental in nature? Did you spend an entire ‘sitting’ with your teen and NOT mention any ‘should-of’s or could-of’s’ in your chat?