We are living through some challenging times at the moment; unemployment is high, everyone’s trying to stretch out their dollars, and there is turmoil and unrest across our nation, as well as around the world. But now the Holiday Season is starting to swing – traditions abound – gifts and eggnog, candles and carols, and just the right amount of organized chaos. (I like to think of the latter as excitement!)
So I’d like to reflect for a moment on tradition. Microsoft Word says it’s: “a long-established action or pattern of behavior in a community or group of people, often one that has been handed down from generation to generation.” But what does it mean to you?
Family traditions are almost non-negotiable! Maybe your mother used to host dinner on December 24 – and now your children can not imagine the holiday without it – or you bake Great Aunt Ida’s pecan pie, a recipe handed down from generation to generation. Gatherings and recipes, special ornaments and spiritual customs: there are all sorts of traditions that we love to enjoy at this time of the year.
Well, I would like to propose a new tradition! That’s an oxymoron you say – well every tradition has to start sometime! And I think the holidays, when family and friends gather, is a perfect time to begin.
Image if we all took time to really LISTEN to a loved one this holiday season. Ask questions, listen with our hearts, and really hear their answers. And if by really listening we could actually UNDERSTAND that person a little better – understand how their life shaped who they are – and why they made the decisions they did. Then maybe we would want to VALIDATE them – validate their life accomplishments – let them know how much we love and appreciate them.
A couple of years ago I did just this with my mother: not just over the Holiday Season, but every week. Every Sunday morning she and I would get together, and as we cooked breakfast, I would ask her questions. After a couple of weeks a beautiful thing happened!
As I asked questions and she answered, she really started to open up. The more we talked – the more I understood and the more I understood – the more I needed to know. And the beautiful thing… the more she felt heard – the better our relationship got and the more I learned about her life – appreciated her ideals, and realized what made her tick.
So why don’t you –
Listen Understand and Validate a Life this Holiday Season!
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