Every year I develop a list of 10 reasons I’m thankful for each family member, and I try to share it by Thanksgiving, but it’s normally Christmas. I call it my Decaeuxarista–I’m not a Greek scholar, but it’s my attempt at making up a word that means Ten Thanks. It’s good for me to intentionally think about why I’m grateful for each family member. This is the list I shared with them this year. My kids are all adults now, and they still look forward to it–and its unique title. 😉 May it spur you to appreciate your family.
LauraI’ve included my wife’s name, but not my kids’ names. I think they prefer that.
- You are easy to like. You have an easy-going nature and earnest spiritual passion. I’ve always known that, but now I have more evidence since in your role as Assistant Dean of Women you are very popular with the college girls. They all love you.
- I love that you are willing to do hard things to spend time with your family. Backpacking in WY is probably the greatest recent example. You did it just because I enjoy it. Not many women of any age will do that.
- You are the peacemaker in the family. You want us all to be right with each other. It bothers you when we aren’t, and so you work with us sinning family members to lead us to repentance and reconciliation.
- Your absence of fear of man has blessed our family many times. You’re willing to ask questions when I would rather you didn’t, but you persist and we are blessed. On our vacation you asked if we could bring a cooler of snacks on the rafting trip, and I was sure they would say no. They said yes. That’s just one example.
- You are teachable; you are still growing spiritually. You’ve told me at least twice that moving to Ankeny has been beneficial for your growth in ministry skills. You’ve taken two college classes just to get better at mentoring girls. You sat in class next to girls that were less than half your age because you have a teachable spirit.
- You are the most thoughtful person in our family. You plan and save and shop for your family all year long. You make Christmas very special because you care about what gifts you give. I’m always encouraged at how well you know me and the kids when we get our stocking stuffers on Christmas morning.
- Your care when I am sick (and when the kids are sick and they are around) is legendary. You are so compassionate and kind. You think of all the little things to ease our discomfort. You jokingly said, “If Momma gets sick, this family is going down.” It’s true! We need you.
- Actually, you “Mom” very well. You are constantly up and taking care of business, getting stuff done for your family. The kids notice it when we’re all together. The rest of us stand around not knowing what needs to be done, and you just take care of things.
- You make all our family times so warm and fun. You especially serve at those times. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks you have been baking and comforting and encouraging all of us. You’re the first to jump up and get something for someone. You make home so homey.
- Part of making our home so comfortable is your design and decorating. I would probably never hang anything on the wall, and they would look cold and unfriendly. You, however, have a gift—you get the right furniture (always at a reasonable cost) and lighting and paint and wall hangings, etc. so that the house is welcoming. And you change it up regularly. You have an eye for making our home warm and comfortable, and you’re always thinking ahead on changes we can make. We’re in the smallest space we’ve been in since seminary, and it still somehow fits well when our kids visit.
- You know I appreciate spending time with you and you will purposely do work in whatever room I am in. You intentionally organize your day so we can be together more, and I love it. You’re my best friend, and there is no one I would rather be with.
- You are sensitive to people that might be on the outside of the popular crowd. You will speak up if someone is speaking ill of someone not present. You lock on to people that are being ignored. It’s a way that your love looks most like Christ.
- You still call me when you need help. I got called in class when you locked your keys in your car on the first day of school. Of course that was an urgent need, but you also ask for help with your taxes, friendships, job decisions, etc. You are open to advice and counsel. In fact, you look for it.
- You intentionally show affection to family members. You still hold my hand when we walk together or when we sit together. You still hug your family members. You’ve never been ashamed of expressing affection. Your family feels very loved because of that.
- You are exceptionally careful with money. You are paying your way through college, and you make sure every purchase is necessary. You have almost completed three years without any student loan debt. But you still are generous with family and friends. Money doesn’t control you.
- You share the gospel. Mom told me that you have given homeless people at the U some cash or a gift card and a gospel pamphlet. You have witnessed to friends of yours on campus and at work. You care about your Muslim friend and atheist friend at the U coming to Christ.
- You work hard in school. No one is watching over your shoulder anymore, but you keep on plugging away. Mom and I don’t get concerned about you living independently because you are so responsible.
- You are a grateful person. You don’t expect us to pick up the check or pay for your gas when you come down to see us, and when we do, you appreciate it.
- You give up your own tastes (like K-dramas) and watch whatever the family is watching. You have eclectic media tastes and while you would appreciate it if we enjoyed them with you, you never expect it or demand it. You willing give up your preferences for the rest of us.
- You’ve always been the child that climbs into the back of the minivan no questions asked and no complaints given. You’ve never had any seat expectation except that you will take the one that no one else wants. That’s a wonderful servant heart.
- You have always been the least needy child. Not that any of our kids are needy, but you have always been independent and self-sufficient. You don’t expect us to serve you. You just assume that you will have to figure any problem out (although you still get advice), and you don’t have any expectation that we are responsible to “save” you. You just trust God and move forward.
- You are really good at making time for people. You are as busy as any other college student, but you make sure that you take time for lunches, coffee, phone calls, and other touches with family, but also with so many friends. Even though they don’t always reciprocate, you invest the time to build relationships.
- I love how you take care of your mother. You are always happy to see her. When she visits you, you are generous. I’m glad you love your mother so well. You are kind to her.
- You don’t love money as far as I can tell. You have been generous with all of your family members through the years. You bought your sister a laptop; let your brother use your Mustang; helped another sister get a car and bought gifts for Mom and me. I’m glad you use money to show love; that’s a godly view of money.
- You think earnestly about Scripture. I’m glad you read and consider Christian books. You’ve gone to a conference with me and also on your own taken a Biblical Counseling introductory course. I’m glad you work at understanding theology and biblical application.
- You love people. That’s why you enjoy social events with friends. You’re great with people because you enjoy being with them. You invest in people.
- I like that you are a good friend. A person that has you as a friend is blessed. You will pursue relationship and communication. You will say hard things to them if they need it.
- Your sense of humor is a joy to me. I fancy myself humorous, and I like that we can riff off each other. Your humor is not hurtful or unkind, which is more mature than mine was at your age. In fact, your humor often helps defuse a stressful situation.
- You have grown a lot in self-discipline. I’m sure the Navy helped with that, but it’s a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5). You’re more consistent in your spiritual disciplines.
- You have a good study ethic. You enjoy learning new things, and you have lots of interests. You’re always surprising me with your latest interest—plant-based diet, backpacking, guitar, minimal support running shoes, etc. You study things thoroughly. You don’t tend to be impulsive. Actually, maybe that’s a better way of describing it. You’re not an impulsive person which means you’re not the Proverbial fool. I’m glad you are prudent and consider things deeply.
- You care about growing spiritually. You willingly did a book study with your brother and I on Sunday nights. You were honest and transparent. You talk to your parents about spiritual things. You want to please God in your growth.
- You are committed to attending and serving in church even though a military job with its deployments makes that difficult. You pursue a gospel-centered church at every location—even if only there for a week, and then you forge friendships and serve enthusiastically.
- You are a gracious person. You tend to react to others outbursts or braggadocio with grace. You don’t tend to respond to anger with anger. You’re easy to be with because you soften the prickliness of others.
- Your focus is a strength. You picked up golf and have focused on getting better. You’ve improved a ton in just over a year. You are never half-hearted in anything you do. You don’t understand why someone might do something without enthusiasm because you regularly give 100%. You take that same focus and discipline to all areas of life.
- I admire your confidence. You might not always feel confident, but you regularly radiate confidence to those around you. That’s an encouraging gift—especially if it’s coupled with a deep dependence upon God.
- I’m glad you are so involved in your church and in Navigators. You want to learn more about God and His Word. You serve in your church while at the Academy, and you love your weekly Navigators Bible study. You have a hunger for righteousness.
- You are efficient with your time. You definitely get more out of your time than the rest of us. You don’t waste time. Even in high school you could get your homework done quickly. It seems intuitive to you how to study efficiently and that has helped you in college. You are wired to redeem your time.
- I’m glad you have told other students at USAFA about your faith. You told them the good news of the gospel. You want them to know Christ, and you’re taking some opportunities to exalt Christ in their eyes.
- You have gotten more edifying with your talk. You say kind things to all of us that show a growing faith in Christ. At times while growing up you have struggled with your words, but you have grown immensely in the past few years.
- You are physically disciplined. You’ve decided to prepare for a half marathon and I don’t doubt that you will be ready. You don’t normally sleep in, and you exercise regularly. It’s good stewardship of your body. There’s virtue in doing hard things, and you love doing hard things.
- You have a regular, weekly schedule for calling your siblings. They look forward to your calls. (You also call your Mother on Sundays and she loves it!) You schedule time for your family because you love them.
- You prioritize time in God’s Word. You finished your Annual Bible reading by the end of October. I’ve seen you many times getting your daily reading and daily devotions in. You have stopped an activity to make sure you get time with God. I’ve seen it.
- I’m thankful for your growing kindness toward and appreciation of your mom. This was not always true of you. You have sent your Mom some texts in the past few months that are especially kind and grateful. God has changed you.
- You are willing to be stretched. You taught English for two years, which is your love, but now you’re teaching Algebra. It has pushed you out of any comfort zone, but you are learning and growing and being teachable.
- Your willingness to leave one job for another one in a different state is pretty remarkable. It’s an evidence of your growth and maturity. You have always been very cautious—even when learning to ride a bike years ago. 😉 Now you take risks to pursue God’s will. That’s maturity.
- You don’t embarrass easily, and Mom and I have tried. 😉 Your struggle with fear of man doesn’t tend to be with public embarrassment and that’s such a welcoming trait to others.
- You are growing in your struggle with the fear of man. You think about it when you make decisions for your class. You are getting better at making hard decisions that you know might be unpopular but that are right.
- You are affectionate with all your family members. I still get good hugs as do the rest of the family. You’re not embarrassed to let people know by your actions that you love us.
- You defend your family more fiercely than probably your parents do. I admire that you are not scared to confront others that slander your family. Your friends know that you love your family much. They get tired of hearing about us from you because you talk about your family A LOT. 😉
- You’re very relational. You pursue friendships in your church with all ages. You had friends that were children, young adults, and even senior adults when you lived in SC. You have friends everywhere you’ve been because you like people. That is a great trait for a believer.
- I’m thankful that you aren’t tempted to find your worth in social media likes. You don’t spend much time on that. You rarely post. You much prefer IRL relationships rather than social media distant ones. That is a huge temptation for your age group; I’m glad that it seems much less tempting for you.
- You read a lot. I mean a lot! There are many your age that waste hours and hours on trivialities, but you would rather curl up with a book. And some of those books are actually good! 😉 Reading is more valuable than watching media and you definitely prioritize reading.
- You come close to your Mom in thoughtfulness. You think about others throughout the year, and you have gift ideas for them. You don’t just buy a gift to check them off your list, you like to make sure the gift suits them.
|↑1||I’ve included my wife’s name, but not my kids’ names. I think they prefer that.|