Teachable Moments

Time to Care – Parenting and the Holocaust: Part 2

My husband came up with this idea, and I wasn’t sure how it would go over.  But we tried it anyway and now it has stuck for years. When our kids took to the stage or field and we wanted them to know where we (their biggest fans) were sitting, we put our hands over our head and made two “llama”s with our fingers and then, brought together the right hand llama and the left hand lama so they could kiss each other, several times. When our children would see the kissing llamas, they knew it was us and we were there cheering them on, so proud to be their Mom and Dad. As they grew older, they returned the llama kisses to us. Llama kisses all around!

This may seem small and somewhat silly, but it was our way to show we cared about each other. What does caring about one another involve?

  • They could depend upon us to show up.
  • We offered our unconditional support; win or lose, we are on their team!
  • We gave positive encouragement and, if needed, helpful feedback, after it was done.
  • We believed in their talent and their hard work, believing they could improve and succeed.

In the Holocaust, families formed a necessary support system for one another in which their care was expressed thoughtfully; they showed affection, concern and spurred one another on to creative pursuits.  While all those who were victimized in the Holocaust suffered, those families who failed to express care for one another were more negatively impacted than families who did express affection and encouragement. Families who could not rely on the support of one another were at a sad disadvantage.  

Why is a family that shows care so important to us as humans?  God created us to live in a family community with one another, a community that is encouraging, loving and supportive – a community that expresses their care in consistent and effective ways.  We are made in the image of God, and God himself as Trinity lives eternally within a loving relationship between the 3 persons. God is always in community with Himself and this perfect community is our prototype for what a family should be.

Families are indeed a God-given form of support for all of its members, and the love we share is necessary for our well-being, no matter the circumstances. It’s important to recognize the importance of family and take the time to tell our loved ones we care for them.

How do you show daily that you care for those in your family?  In times that are busy, and especially  in a crisis, taking the time to show that one another’s well-being is a top priority in your family helps each of us survive and thrive.  Some pointers in finding that time and showing care well:

  • Empathize with feelings – saying, “you are feeling excited and nervous as you go into this next game.” We need to recognize and acknowledge one another’s emotional experiences.
  • Encourage each other’s relationship with God – a verse, a prayer or a theological truth can help everyone keep perspective as well as remain thankful in both the good and bad times. Shape the verse according to what the person receiving it will find encouraging.
  • Memorialize big and little events with photos, encouraging letters, handmade notes, special treats or even a “this is your big day” celebration plate on which they can eat their favorite dinner (plates like this can be bought online or created at your local pottery shop)
  • Hug!  Appropriate physical affection never goes out of style – a pat on the back in any style is always a good idea.
  • Technological Know-How is helpful when you’re on the road and you still want to show-up (watch live but through a device) or give them a personal congratulations after the event.  Staying in touch is easier and can be personal when we use the technological advances available to us.

Dear Reader, however your family does it, don’t put off tomorrow what you need to do today – get your “care” on and express your love, concern, support and encouragement to your family.  Don’t miss an opportunity to let those you love know you love them.

Love and blessings to each of you!  Fondly yours, Elizabeth

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