In this 31 days series I’m looking at ways that I can make way for family life; choices that can simplify my lifestyle, making way for to me to live life with my kids! All posts can be found here.
“You’re welcome” is a phrase we often say to other people but not so much to our family. Simple good manners are a must if there is to be harmony in the home. Here are some basics
- Saying please and thank-you
- Interrupting with courtesy
- Serving the other person first
- Greeting each other in the mornings
- Saying sorry (and forgiving)
- Listening to each other respectfully (and letting other people speak as well!)
Good manners are simply love in action; showing our family that we love and care for them and that they are special. Our attitude towards the other person in whatever we are doing is the key for harmonious family life. Alternatively if we continually think of ourself then we will have bickering, competition and legalism just to name a few issues!
- Bickering happens when two people with differing opinions insist on being right!
- Competition happens when one person insists on being more important than anyone else, and always promoting their ideas and activities.
- Legalism happens when one person insists on only doing what they have been asked to do; they live by the law not by the needs they see.
Good manners are all about the other person and our family are the ‘other’ person. Do we ever think that? Do our kids think that? Or do we always see the ‘other’ person as our neighbour, friend or church family?
We love others because Jesus first loved us. And the love we have for others should reflect the love (the kind of love) Jesus has for us – and that is that he loved us while we were yet sinners. Our family do not have to be loveable or reciprocating love before we show them we care.
Here are some other ways we can show love in our family
- Be shock absorbers – that is when someone says something unfortunate we have the choice to be offended or to absorb it and keep on rolling. When we choose not to be offended we are making the decision to immediately forgive and move on (without a grudge or even a smudge of a grudge).
- Offer Hospitality – one of the saddest things to see in a family home is a “Keep Out” sign on kids’ bedroom doors. In our family bedrooms are private space and are to be respected, but they are also a training ground for hospitality and a comfy place for a sibling chat! We expect the kids to knock on a closed door and wait for a cheery “come in!” The only times “Do not enter” signs are on our doors is around a birthday when people are busy making gifts!
- Be a good sport – nothing kills a happy family time than a grumpy looser or a proud winner.
When we have guests we offer a welcome and we are very focused on their needs. This needs to be the heart of how we relate to each other as a family as well. Don’t let familiarity kill off good manners!