The family had gathered at their Gulf Coast beach cottage for the Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone in the family needed the renewal and refreshing they gain from spending time there together: talking, sitting in the sun and staring at the aquamarine water. A time to just be, not to do. One evening, as they reclined in Adirondack chairs around a crackling fire, their college-aged son posed a question to his parents:“Would you give a one-word description of each of us?”
One word! Now that’s a challenge. What followed was what the mother described as “a beautiful time of encouragement for all of us. Such a sacred time.” Words such as compliant, obedient, independent, fun, inquisitive, diligent, relational and kind-hearted were used to describe the young adults. Affirming words were shared about the parents, too. Words like hero, fun, responsible…enthusiastic, interested, caring. When the sharing time was finished, the mom scurried into the house to write everything down so that she could remember those words in the days and years to come. The incredible power of a single word. So many of us focus on the negative words we have heard throughout our lives. They echo in our minds: loser, failure, blimp, screw-up. This Thanksgiving, let’s try something different. Let’s take this family’s example. Let’s affirm one another. After enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving meal, why not go around the table and share one affirming word about each person?
Perhaps even give them an index card and a pencil so they can write down and remember the words that people use? Pass some love and affirmation around. You never know who might be missing from the Thanksgiving table next year. Or how one simple, affirming word might echo in someone’s mind in the days to come when a person feels alone or defeated.
Why not try it? Don’t just pass the potatoes. Pass the affirmation.
Live without regrets.
Leave nothing unsaid.
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