Character Creates Opportunity® – Preparations: Thursday, October 30, 2014

By the time this blog is distributed and the close of October is upon us, we are all moving quickly into the November and December holiday season.  Downtowns across this country are filled with trucks, cherry pickers, and workers hanging lights on “Main Street” preparing for the holiday season.

The holiday season brings a great deal of activity to most homes, businesses, and communities.   There are the finishing touches placed on projects to be completed before year end and the fine tuning of plans and budgets for the next year.

Most importantly, this time of year brings people together.  Whether it is events in the office, the community, or parties in the home, large groups of family and friends gather together.

As we continue on our personal journey to build and strengthen our character, the holiday season presents a great opportunity for each one of us to have a positive impact on others.

We all know there are plenty of struggles and challenges in our world today.  We can debate whether things are more challenging now than in past, but one thing is for sure, our world has become more complex and more intense over the years.  Looking more specifically in our homes, family conflict continues to be the most heart-breaking of all of life’s struggles.  Given the central role that families continue to play in our world, it is a place that should consistently garner our attention and effort.

I wanted to raise two ideas that I hope will be helpful and encouraging to have a positive impact in the home this holiday season.  Like most things that matter, we can’t just “wing it.”  We need to be intentional and prepare.  Consider this message part of the preparation phase for the holidays.  These two ideas can help to build and strengthen our character and have a positive impact on others.

(1)    A Word of Encouragement.  Research on relationships would show we all need about 4 or 5 positive comments to overcome one negative comment in supporting our emotional health.  We all seem to be bent on listening more to the negative and tuning out the positive. I am sure if we all conducted an inventory on comments we give or comments we receive, there probably is a deficit on the positives.  As we gather together this holiday season, we should focus on speaking encouragement into those around us.  Chances are good that those closest to us have been internalizing a little more of the negative than the positive throughout the year.

If some poor choices have resulted in this being a very difficult year, there is always the opportunity to speak hope and encouragement into someone for a fresh start into the New Year.  If relationships have become so strained because of some poor choices and gathering together is not even a possibility, I would recommend taking a small step and write a letter (a real letter, not an email) and see if the written word of encouragement can be a helpful first step in restoring the relationship.

We all could use some encouragement, especially in the home.Rear View Of Family Walking Through Autumn Woodland

(2)    Tactile Connection.  In our digital world, we so often hear that we are “connected” with so many people.  “It was great to connect with you” is a common phrase on social media platforms.  We have significantly expanded how we describe getting connected as our lives have gone digital in so many areas.  Relationship research would show that without physical connection, relationships grow weaker.  Without tactile connection, we physically get weaker and our immune system is more susceptible to disease.

The reality is that as our world has become more connected with things like the internet, smart phones, and social media, families are actually becoming more disconnected primarily from a physical, tactile standpoint.  As we gather together during these last few months of the year, be intentional about making a “connection” with those in the home through a warm embrace and a consistent touch.

In addition, where there is a strained relationship, a genuine hug has been proven to be more effective than words as a first step to mend a broken and troubled relationship.  Be courageous and take the first step to attempt a genuine, warm embrace.

We all could benefit from a warm embrace to strengthen and secure relationships in the home.

As we begin planning and preparing for the holiday season, we will build and strengthen our character when we speak encouragement into others and make a physical connection with others in the home.  Our Character Creates Opportunity® to build strong, secure relationships with those closest to us.