Reset your family’s mood with this simple activity that creates an intentional space for love.
by Susan Windley-Daoust
Last night our kids were being especially cranky—it had been a long week, they were tired, there were dishes to do, and they were expertly pushing each other’s buttons. We gather together as a family for evening prayer (usually reading a brief saint of the day story and a Scripture reading, closing with intentions). Given how they were poking and annoying each other from the start, I decided to change things up.
“For family prayer today, I am forcing you each to say one thing you love about every person in this room! Then we’ll close with a prayer of gratitude! Got it?”
After they clarified things, I began by looking at each child and naming something I love about that child. Next I told Alex it was his turn. (I went for the most affectionate child first. Probably it helped make this work!). Then we went on down the line. Then we included the pets, and finally their father (who was out for the evening). By a third of the way through, they were smiling and laughing. We closed with a simple, “Thank you, God, for our family!” and sang a child-friendly Amen song.
Crankiness banished, remembering the good, fostering love, thanking God. Mission accomplished.