Dayquil, Mucinex, Vitamin C, and Halls have been the norm around our house for a few weeks. Allergies gone wild made their way into chest coughs that are disrupting sleep. My desire these days is for everyone in my house to be healthy. Funny, as I type that, I realize that is my desire for my family every day. I truly desire my family to be whole and healthy. I would love to see us all be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. I would love to see us be emotionally and spiritually healthy people who can make a positive impact on the world around us.
The ever present cough in my house has me thinking. There is no relational Vitamin C, or spiritual Mucinex, or emotional Dayquil on the market. What are the remedies we use daily to provide health to our home? It doesn’t happen accidentally, it requires extreme intentionality. Here are a few of the things we have used over the years ::
*Honest and open conversation – There is no subject taboo in our house and no secrets. As parents, Todd and I find that requires a great deal of humility, courage, and focus. We invite respectfully communicated questions, opinions, and even disagreements in order to truly know and understand each other. We encourage each other to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. This has proven to be very challenging as parents (and I’m sure my kids would say for them also) as it demands we set aside our agendas, our motives, and often our egos.
*True confession and amends – There are no half-hearted “sorry” apologies permitted in our house. When we have wronged another, we go to them and humbly admit the nature of all our wrongs and ask for forgiveness. This value was very difficult to teach, especially during our family’s season of preschoolers. I can remember times I sat my kids down knee to knee and scripted their apologies to each other in order to teach them. It was challenging and we often wanted to give up and just let them get by with a half-hearted sorry, but I’m so glad we endured the lessons. It is incredibly rewarding now to hear them owning their behavior and being responsible to make things right within the family. I‘m certain it is very powerful for them to see their parents do the same on a daily basis. They certainly know their parents aren’t perfect, and for that I’m grateful!
*Respectful communication – It is human nature to allow emotions to create responsive reactions in us. It requires sincere discipline to learn to communicate the intense emotions that arise in family life in respectful ways. This has probably been our greatest challenge, and honestly, our greatest failure. In the heat of the moment, when feelings have been hurt, finding a way to respectfully communicate those feelings without belittling, blaming, or shaming is crazy, crazy hard! Bless my kids for being teachable enough to continue to try to learn these lessons, even as their parents fail at it consistently!
*Invite God into everything – We see and recognize His hand in everything, from the tiniest details to the big picture of our family’s history. It is challenging to slow down and take the time to help our kids see how God is showing up in their lives and to communicate how He shows up in ours. Sometimes they easily see Him and acknowledge Him and other times they struggle to perceive Him and understand Him. I can remember a time when one of my kids struggled with doubting His existence due to difficult circumstances. I can remember wrestling with one of them because they were mad at God. Inviting God into the good, the bad, and the ugly has invited all of us to develop our own unique faith and relationship with God. We each experience God as uniquely as he created us and find ways to live that out and celebrate with each other.
We don’t always get it right, as a matter of fact; I probably get it wrong way more than I get it right! These values over time have permeated our family and seem to be the anchors that hold us steady. Today I’m grateful for the remedies that have quieted coughs and enabled restful sleep. I am also sincerely moved with the reminders of the remedies that bring our family health on a daily basis.