- Thursday, September 26, 2002
I know a family that is a terrific example of the importance of touch. They welcome everyone into their home with open arms. Children especially receive extra hugs to remind them how special they are. No one leaves that house feeling unwanted or unloved.
Our family has begun a practice that is creating the same type of fun in our home. Every now and then someone will say, "Family hug time," and we all fight for the position that appears the middle of the circle. We usually end up kissing each other randomly-with our eyes closed, or course, so we won't be distracted by runny noses and dirty faces. If we go a few weeks without this delightful moment together, I can count on a few complaints from the children.
Sometimes in the middle of our hectic schedules, we forget the importance of taking time for each other as family members. One of the best ways we can define how we are doing in this area is to simply recall how our family conducted our lives during the previous week. As we reflect on that week, what would have been said about us? Did we spend time together? Did we talk to each other? Did we hug each other? Were there moments of tears? Were there moments of laughter?
Answering those questions can be very important in knowing how you are living your day to day life. When it comes to the end of our lives, all of us would want to be able to look back and reflect on the fact that we paid appropriate attention to those in our home. But the fact of the matter is many of us are forgetting to do just that in the busyness of living life Christ taught each of us the importance of touch. In His day, it was common for people to bring their children to religious leaders for a blessing. In Luke 18:15-16, Jesus is taking a moment from a business discussion to pick up a few children, give them a hug and bless them on their way. Can you image what joy His touch brought to parents of those children? Jesus was a proponent of the family hug. He wanted people to understand the importance of touch and He was willing to make a few disciples mad to get his point across. Let this be a reminder to some of us to put the phone down or close the lap-top and yell, "FAMILY HUG TIME!" Go ahead. Try it! You'll like it and your children will thrive in the warmth and security of your love. You've heard all the additional reasons psychologists say we need touch. Add this one to your memory log and start a new fad in your neighborhood. And, if opportunity knocks, hug the bully when he's playing with your child in your backyard!
How are you teaching your children the importance of proper touch and hugs? Hear are a few suggestions: 1) Make sure you are taking time to care for your family members with words of encouragement, friendly hugs, sometimes a gift and even, at some point, challenging them in areas they need to grow.
2) Emphasize to your children the importance of them loving you back. Sometimes we don't teach our children how important it is for them to take time to nurture their parents. The Bible specifically teaches that our children are to honor their parents and one of the ways we do that it through words of encouragement. Those words don't have to wait until the children are forty years old-they can happen when the child is five years old. Make sure your children know how to say thank you for the food you are providing and thank you for the roof over their head. It is important that children learn the importance of their touch back to their parents and how meaningful that can be in the home.
How can you be more like Christ was in Luke 18 in your neighborhood? Take time as a family to think about how your neighborhood is receiving love and care. Are there families or individuals in your neighborhood who never receive any compliments and maybe rarely hear words of encouragement? How appropriate it would be as a family to take time to go and provide those words to that needy family. Everyone loves to be encouraged. Certainly, that is something you can offer to those who live near you. Talk about the homes that are around you and the people who live in them. What reputation does that family have in the neighborhood of how they love their family? Then share what your family may look like if you evaluated yourselves as others see you.
So, simply challenge yourself to take time and touch those in your family with an appropriate word of encouragement, sometimes a hug, at least a daily dose of care and gratitude for each other.
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