The Family Love Dare Journal: Day One — Love is Patient

[Editor’s note: The author explains her family’s Lenten commitment to take the Love Dare here . This is the first of regular updates that will be posted all through Lent. ]

Ash Wednesday: Today we are introducing the Dare to our kids. The message today is age-old, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19

I was surprised at how hard this first day was for me! I love my kids, speaking kindly to them should be easy, but it wasn’t. It became challenging when one of the teenagers questioned my authority. It became worse when my daughter had one of her melt-downs. I hadn’t realized how easily I slip into a harsh tone.

My husband worked a lot today, so he didn’t interact a lot with us. When he did though, I could see him visibly trying to speak gently to all of us.

We also experienced an unexpected twist with the kids. I have a few who are always willing to help. They jump up when asked (most of the time). We have a few others who always put off their chores and seem unmotivated to do anything nice for anyone. The helpful children had a more difficult time speaking kindly and the ones who don’t like to help spoke nicely most of the day! Huh? Have I overlooked this strength in my own children by focusing on what they don’t do? What other surprises will the dare hold for our family?

Lord, help me to see all my children’s strengths and to become a fairer parent to them all.

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  • Doris Rodriguez

    Well, the first “official” day went well. I think it mostly centered around our being AWARE of each other in a whole new way because it seemed we were kinder, more patient, most accommodating, and more loving toward each other as a result of this new awareness.

    We started our Sunday morning off by going to church in Pflugerville with our youngest son, Zack, which was really, really special. We loved the mass and the music, and we discovered that the priest at St. Elizabeth’s is Father Albert, who used to be at Sacred Heart here in Elgin after Father Raphael retired. One of the song’s we sang was “Here I Am, Lord” and it made me and Ricky think about our Emmaus walks. Actually, I experienced quite a few little God-kisses throughout the service and had to brush away a few Holy Spirit tears.

    We went out to lunch afterward at one of Zack’s favorite Mexican restaurants, and then Ricky and I came home so he could finish his work schedule. We played tennis in the afternoon and it felt good to be outside in the fresh air. Spring truly is in the air! Afterward, we sat out on the patio and talked about anything and everything, as usual. Our flower garden is looking pretty pathetic because of the drought and winter, so I watered everything and began making plans for reviving it. We have always paid someone to take care of this little “chore” but we are entertaining the thought of doing it ourselves. Ricky says he will do the raking, cleaning, and soil preparation … if I will do the planting, weeding, and watering. It’s not really our “thing”, but we love the way it looks after all the hard work so we are going to give it a try.

    My heart was soft toward Ricky all day today. I fixed BBQ chicken and then we watched “Legally Blonde”, one his most favorite movies … and I mean that seriously. He loves that movie! LOL

    Heavenly Father, help me and Ricky as we work to improve our marriage