Appreciating people

I’ve been thinking a lot about appreciation of people recently.  Whenever I am at a leaving do or similar and there are lots of nice things said about someone, I usually find myself thinking, “Yes! But did this person know how much you appreciated them while they were here?” It’s even more poignant at a funeral or memorial service, of course.

I know of someone who didn’t think anyone would miss them when they changed churches. They were genuinely surprised to get a message a while later saying “We miss you!” They were left wondering why the person had hardly spoken to them before. Maybe they would have remained at that church if they had been helped to believe they were a valued member of the congregation.

But thinking about this leaves me with questions.  How do you let people know in a sincere and non-cringy way that they are special to you? That you appreciate what they do and who they are? That your life would be less without them?

Recently at our home education co-op, I surprised the children in assembly by asking them to tell someone else there that they appreciated them being there – and give a reason.  There was much giggling, but they all had a go and perhaps they’ll remember the experience.

What would you say to someone in a group you belong to? What would you like someone to say to you? Let’s get appreciative!



Tradition… Or not?

I recently read this post about the importance of traditions.  Usually I would agree with it wholeheartedly.  I love all my traditions – especially at Christmas – and enjoy adding in new ones from time to time.  But this year I find myself feeling … heretical.

This year I find myself disgruntled with tradition.  This week I have thought things about traditions I have never thought before.

Here are three reasons traditions may not be so great:

1. You do them because you do them.  Not because you choose to do them.  Not because they add meaning to your life.  Not because you have carefully added them to your schedule to help your family understand the message of Christmas.

2. They can be a source of marital disharmony.  After 2 decades of living with one family’s traditions, you have to merge them with someone else’s family traditions.  And that’s before your siblings get married and there are even more “We-always-do-it-this-way”s to incorporate.

3. It hurts like billy-oh when a key person isn’t there any more taking their traditional role.

What to do?  Well now I’ve got that all off my chest, I’ll carry on as normal.  Traditions will remain in place as a source of strength, continuity and belonging.  After all, there’s always next year to do it all differently … or perhaps the next … or the one after that …