When I was 15 years old, I attended a church youth retreat. As much as I loved the classes, the activities, and the people, one lesson touched my heart the greatest over the years - the lesson I learned by breaking the bedtime rule. I shared a dorm room with 5 other girls, and we became great friends. One night, we stayed up very late, way past the "lights out" rule. Hopped up on candy and adrenaline, we decided to run around the dorm courtyard and knock on people's windows. It took all of two minutes for the camp supervisor to catch us.
Quickly, we hurried back to our dorm. When we heard a soft knock on the door, we pretended to be asleep. We heard a quiet voice, "Girls, open the door please." Pretending to rub our eyes, we opened the door for the dorm supervisor. I've never forgotten her words. She gently said to us, "Girls, we want you to learn and feel the Spirit while you're here. If your body is tired, you won't be able to learn as much. Please go to sleep." And then she left.
No harsh discipline, no phone calls to our parents, no reprimands. Just a simple plea, made out of love for our welfare. We followed her counsel, and we went to bed.
Love is the most powerful motivator.
Think for a moment about how you act around other people, your families, and your children.
Do your words and actions come out of a loving heart?
When you discipline your children, are your words motivated by a desire to help them learn appropriate behavior and grow into successful, happy adults? Or are you motivated out of parent power to maintain your own authority? When you correct your children, do you explain the reasoning and love behind the discipline, or do you offer no explanation?
Think for a moment about your friends and family members. Do you show them love?
When you are angry or annoyed, do you react out of love for the person who hurt you, or do you seek to gratify your own self? Do you rationalize how you are right, and they are wrong
? Or do you try to view them with loving compassion?
Love will motivate you to have compassion on the other person.
I think it is human nature to get upset, to be angry, and to be defensive. However, relationships truly grow when we try to overcome those childish, gut-reactions and seek to develop compassion. There is an important line in the 2015 live-action Cinderella - when Ella meets the Prince for the first time, and he asks how she is treated, she responds compassionately, "They treat me as well as they are able." Despite their cruel behavior towards her, Ella tried to see them through a compassionate lens. She knew their behavior was wrong, but she had mercy (and pity) on them.
Think about people who have hurt or offended you in the past.
How could you have responded with more compassion?
Compassion comes from love. Love is the most powerful emotion humans feel. As you gather with friends and family during the holiday season, take care that your words and actions come from a place of love and compassion. Have mercy on the imperfections of others.
If they burn the cookies, let it go.
If they come late to your party, let it slide.
If the kids spill red Kool-Aid all over your new, white couches,
try to be calm as you ask them to help you swab the stain with club soda.
If someone looks sad, hug them.
If someone asks for help, help them.
Let your words be full of kindness and mercy. Seek not to offend others or gratify your pride.
Reach out in compassion, for this is how you show love to others.
Labels: Emotional Health, Happy Tidbits, Marriage, Parenting, Spiritual Thoughts