One of my themes for this year is “Year of Praise.” Praise is something I want to grow in, but I’ve found it has taken more intentional effort than I thought it would. Since it wasn’t coming together that superbly on my own, I decided to enlist the help of my family. Being a dad comes with its perks!
A couple months back, I instituted a routine at our mealtimes. Before we can leave the table, each person says something good they noticed someone else doing. For example, an easy one is to say, “Mama did a good job making the food.” Usually, one person mentions the food, but then the others of us have to think of something else.
At first it was fairly difficult for all of us. We couldn’t easily think of that many unique things between each meal. The children fell into the routine of saying that the others did a good job with some aspect of chores, so I ruled out chores unless someone did something extra special. This really makes us think.
The knock-on effect of this mealtime routine is that the whole family is beginning to take greater notice of the good things the others do, and we are looking to do more good things that may be noticed by others. I’ve been hearing more recently comments like, “Dane, that was a good job you did helping Seth go potty. I’m going to say it at lunchtime.” We like to be the one to share that small thing no one else noticed.
Occasionally, I will be too preoccupied and may start to leave the table before we go through the routine. When this happens, the children will shout, “Daddy! Our goodnesses!” We can’t go on with the day without sharing the goodnesses we’ve been watching for. That’s a great habit.
Once is awhile, I’m not at the table for a meal. When that happens, the others usually hold off sharing until the next meal, then we go around the table twice. We take turns with who starts the circle so everyone gets a chance to say the big thing that may have happened between meals.
Seth has begun helping, too. He still mostly speaks an unknown tongue, but we are beginning to hear words we understand. Last night for his goodness he said, “Mama num-num pop acá.” He thought Steph did a good job giving him pop to drink at supper.
One other thing I’m doing on my own is giving each person a hug every day and saying something positive to them when I do. That hasn’t been going on as long, but I do enjoy the challenge. Sometimes, I simply tell them I love them, but I like to find something good about them and share it. My personal challenge is that it has to be something that hasn’t been said at Goodness Time.
It’s not much, but these things are slowly changing my mindset. When you discipline yourself to find the good in others, you slowly see more and more good in them. It’s a great way to deepen the grooves of love and appreciation in your heart.
P.S. I tried to get this blog out yesterday, but I couldn’t. It was mostly due to incredibly poor service, which may have been worse because of the lightning storm. We have now had five days of rain in a row. I do try to get out a daily post when possible.
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