May 092021 0 Responses

Every Family Should Celebrate This

What does your family celebrate?

Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are things that nearly every family honors. Stores shut down for Christmas, families gather for Mother’s Day, and presents are purchased for birthdays. But beyond the traditional celebrations, the average family also honors success. When the outcome is something we like, we celebrate–raises, athletic success, career advancements, good grades, etc.

And success is something we should celebrate. Life is hard. We don’t have to seek out criticism, hardship, or suffering. It will find us. Yet we do have to intentionally celebrate the wins.

Yet there is one thing that families often overlook when it comes to celebrations.

Celebrate This

By nature, we are driven by fear. Without intention, we will naturally devolve into actions and attitudes derived from personal safety and well-being. We tend toward the emotional easy, physically less risky, and mentally least taxing scenarios. In order to change this human tendency, we need to celebrate when that doesn’t happen. When the hard road is chosen, the difficult task is faced, or the emotionally vulnerable path is selected, families should celebrate.

We need to celebrate courage. (For more, see my book Fearless Families)

Spotlight it. Applaud it. Recognize it. Give a voice to it. Honor it. And act in a way that is likely to cause it to happen again.

More than success. More than a desired outcome. Celebrate courage.

Courage Worth Celebrating

Every courageous act needs to be noticed, but there are some specific actions that must be highlighted above others.

Truth-telling. It’s always tempting to lie. Choosing to speak the truth in a compassionate, humble, bold way takes true faith. Whenever someone admits something hurt, says the hard (not harsh) word, or broaches the difficult topic, recognize that action before continuing the conversation. (“Hey, before we continue, I just want to recognize what you just said had to be difficult. Thank you for showing bravery.”)

Doing what is right. The right way is often the hard way. It’s easy to deceive, go along with the crowd, or make exceptions to moral values. Yet to choose to do the right thing when others are doing wrong takes real strength.

Loving others. We naturally look out for ourselves. It takes intention and humility to look beyond our needs and to the needs of another. When someone chooses to put the needs of others above themselves, call attention to their bravery.

Trying new things. For some personalities, this isn’t a big deal; for others, it is the biggest. Some of us are people of routine and comfort. Trying new things can be very difficult. When someone with a reserved personality shows courage by doing something new, recognize their bravery.

Enduring. Our culture is one of the quick fix and the fast-fold. People do not endure hardship. They don’t stay faithful to others in difficult times. Whenever someone chooses to endure, call attention to that faithfulness.

Why Celebrate Courage?

Whatever is celebrated is repeated. When families draw attention to acts of courage, each member of the family begins to look for ways to show courage. While success should be highlighted, a good outcome is not the highest priority. We can luck into the right answer or the situational success. But we never luck into courage. Yet few attributes are as needed in today’s world as that of courage. (See: Jesus, Leadership, and the Courage to Serve)

Imagine raising children who are trained to choose the hard action. Picture a married couple who continually inspires one another to overcome their fears and to choose bold actions. Dream of a team who regularly pushes each other beyond their self-imposed limits to accomplish things they never dreamed possible. All of this can happen when we start celebrating the things that matter most. Courage is one of those things.

Start Here

To start celebrating courage, think back to this past week. Identify one action which someone in your family took which you consider courageous. The next time everyone is together, say, “I’ve been thinking about what you did the other day and that must have taken some courage for you to do that. Thank you for being so brave.”

Another next step might be for each member of the family to name one thing they’ve been putting off because they were hesitant or afraid. Each person can commit to doing one brave act this week.

Celebrate courage is value number five of the Thompson Family Values. To learn about the other four and to learn how to write your own family values, click HERE.

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