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Several years ago, a good friend encouraged me in way that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. She said that when I see her my face lights up as though seeing her is the highlight of my day. I listened to her kind words a little self-consciously. (Why is it so hard to hear compliments?) I was pleased and a little embarrassed by her assessment. Then I thought, well, honestly, that’s not a big surprise, since that’s exactly how I feel about her. And finally I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone felt that way when I see them?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could make everyone feel like their presence is the highlight of my day?
A few weeks after that I was reading a book called Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. (Great book, highly recommend, link below.) In this book Rubin gives many little tips for having a happy home. One interesting suggestion was to have an Aroma Space (my word, not hers) in your home that is filled with smells that make you happy.* But another recommendation that caught my attention since my friend’s comment was fresh on my mind was to give warm greetings and farewells. Rubin says, “I wanted family members to feel acknowledged and welcomed every time they walked through the door.”
“I wanted family members to feel acknowledged and welcomed every time they walked through the door.”
In my mind, with my friend’s comment still ringing pleasantly in my ears, I changed the wording to:
Give Good Hellos and Good Goodbyes:
I want all my family members to know that their presence brightens my day.
“I’m So Glad You’re Here!”
So we gave it a try! I explained to my family that I was going to try something new, and to please just go along with it. And to jump in themselves if they wanted.
Now maybe there are many families that already do this. Kisses at the front door, big family hugs upon return (followed by a quick family sing of “Jesus Loves Me”). But if your family is anything like mine your typical hello and goodbye is a shout from the doorway and a glance from a screen, followed by a mellow “hey.” And if the screen was particularly interesting , the glance and the little “hey” might come a few seconds too late. Whoops.
So I explained that I’d be giving good hellos and good goodbyes to the family. Husband got on board immediately and told the kids they’d be doing it, too. We jumped in with both feet right away (minus the family sing part).
When someone was leaving Steve and I both gave hugs and kisses and we made sure the siblings said a good goodbye. When people came in, we lit up like their return was the best part of our day with hugs and kisses and happy greetings right at the door.
When people came in, we lit up like their return was the best part of our day with hugs and kisses and happy greetings right at the door.
Friends, it was amazing!
You may be thinking it wouldn’t work for your family – that you aren’t a touchy-feely family. But if my teenage boys can do it, who aren’t known for their expressive physical affection for their parents, I think your family can do it, too!
Here is what we loved about it:
- It is a guaranteed touchpoint in our day. Even if no one goes anywhere there are hellos and goodbyes when we wake up and when we go to sleep.
- It is a practice that gives home that feeling that we all want our homes to have: “You are welcome here. We love you!”
- It sends our family out into the world with a love-boost. (I’m going to trademark that word.)
This small practice can bring joy into our homes and send our family out into the world in strength.
So what about you? Are you in? Will you give this a try?
Or, is there another happiness-building, family-strengthening practice that you’ve let slip by the wayside that you would like to reinstate? Comment below!
*We placed an Aroma Space on a little table by our front door. We have assembled a mini mug filled with little fragrance samples, a few misting sprays, and a nice block of fatwood. We invite our visiting friends to smell and spray our fragrances just for fun. It can be a great ice breaker.