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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Love Game

The four Edwards children

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

...but those who plan peace have joy.
Proverbs 12:20b

One day last week was particularly difficult for our children. We were home most of the day carrying out our new summer schedule. It seemed that all day long the kids argued, bickered, provoked one another, and found ways to aggravate their siblings whenever they could. I was tired of it and found that my own words in response were not helping and probably fueling more frustration.

That evening as we gathered in our circle on the floor to kneel in prayer, as we always do at bedtime, I impulsively announced:

"Tonight we are going to do something a little different before we pray. I want to go around the circle and when it is your turn I want to you say something that you love about the person on your right. I'll start." The kids eyes widened at this change of routine. "One thing I love about Hope is that she is not afraid to try new things." Hope smiled a little shyly. "Hope, now it is your turn."

"One thing I love about Lane is how he makes books."
And Lane said, "One thing I love about Daddy is how he works so we can have food."
And Mr. Edwards said, "One thing I love about Sydney is that she stays with a task until it is finished."
And Sydney said, "One thing I love about Toby is the way he likes to play motor boat with me."

The next evening when it came time for our bedtime routine, Lane called out, "Let's do the love game again!"

And now "The Love Game" is a new element in our bedtime routine. We are careful to remind the kids not to say, "I love so-and-so because..." but to say, "One thing I love about..." We've heard beautiful compliments shared from brother to sister, sister to brother, father to daughter, son to mother, etc.

This morning when I read Proverbs 12 in my devotional time, the verses quoted above struck me anew and I reflected on our "Love Game." Peaceful relationships often require planning. And indeed, our rash words spoken throughout the day hurt like sword thrusts and invite a tit-for-tat sort of war of words. But a wise tongue can offer healing words of love. And the evidence of healing spreads across each of my children's faces in a smile when they hear their brother, sister, mother, or father give them a sincere compliment.

After one week of this the Edwards kids are adept at deciding where each of us should sit in the circle so that we rotate through and hear from each family member. Even Toby joins in, sometimes with prompting. Last night he proudly said, "Mommy is....Mommy is...." Mr. Edwards whispered in his ear. Toby continued, "BOO--TI--FUL!"

Yes, I like this game a lot!


Laura said...

I love that last part ... it made me smile this morning. The idea of the Love Game is precious, too. We may try that at the dinner table :)

I do wish we lived closer to Kansas so we could join in on the co-op fun. We may be moving north; however, not to Kansas.

Blessings to you,

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Our bed time routing is rough. It is very hard to wind my boys (ages 5 and 3) down for the night. I have been working hard on different things. I love the idea of a family devotional time that includes "The Love Game."

Thank you aghain for providing me inspiration!


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