Commentary – Spread love and joy to everyone

Richard Froese

Two very special and important days on the calendar are coming in the new two weeks.
Valentine’s Day returns Feb. 14. A week later, people across Alberta celebrate Family Day on Feb. 21.
Both days are timely and needed as the COVID-19 pandemic nears the second anniversary in March.
Valentine’s Day is a time when people show feelings of love, affection and friendship to others, states information on the internet whereas Family Day gives families of all ages a special time to spend time together.
Since Family Day was created in Alberta in 1990, many families have gathered to celebrate families and community.
The two upcoming days promote love, family, respect, community and life are needed more than ever during difficult times in the pandemic.
Family Day in Alberta was created by then-premier Don Getty who wanted to counteract what he saw as the erosion of family values in Canadian society. As such, Family Day in the province is designated to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta in 1905.
People are getting sick and tired of the COVID-19 restrictions as many provinces in Canada and countries around the world are moving from pandemic to endemic.
COVID-19 restrictions will soon be behind us and we can all get back to our way of life as we knew it before the pandemic.
It’s time to move on.
Even in disputes, we can still show love to others when done in healthy ways.
I learned several steps to take to build relationships in a workshop Building Better Community in my home church in High Prairie. The leader guided the workshop based on a book Building Better Communities – 12 Exercises to Strengthen Your Relational Muscles written by Tom Anthony.
A great place is to practise and use the exercises is at home with your spouse, children and others in your family. Here are some of the basic and useful steps.

  • Create Appreciation:
    Build relational joy. When you are present in person with other people, tell each person individually, “I’m so happy to be with you,” starting with their name. Saying the other person’s name to them makes them feel special, valued and loved. That statement and a smile can go a long way to build love and respect.
  • Practise Gratitude:
    At the end of each day, take time to be thankful. Writing it down is a great way to remember it over time. Share your thanks with family, friends and even in a small group is better.
    “Thank you, God, for. . .” Be specific.
    For those not of the faith, simply say, “I’m thankful for. . .”
    Name at least five things that made your day happy. Focus your mind more on blessings, not problems.
  • Think of Joy Memories:
    Think of moments in the day or past week where you experienced laughter, comfort, smiles or joy with others. Focus your mind on memories that bring joy, not on worry, anxiety or sadness.
    *Pursue Harmony:
    Connect emotionally; expressing and sharing emotion is essential.
  • Move from Anger to Relational Joy:
    Respond in a healthy way when you are angry with another person. The other person is more important than the problem. Shift your focus to a joyful connection and the relationship.
    Practising any or some of those action steps is bound to bring more joy in your life and in the lives of others and grow your love and respect to those people around you.

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