Now that the holiday season is officially upon us, it’s appropriate to step back and gain some perspective. If there’s one quality we would all do well to demonstrate during the next five weeks, it would be contentment. As fathers, we can set the tone for our families and help make the holidays truly rewarding and meaningful instead of being hectic and difficult. Will your family demonstrate contentment during the next month?
Author Tim Hansel has 4 tips for contentment. (He actually calls them “commandments.”) These have direct application for the holidays:
- Live here and now. The holiday season is about anticipation and looking forward, but don’t forget to also make the most of every moment with your family. Look for the miracles right in front of you!
- Don’t hurry. The tragedy of the holiday rush is that we neglect things – and usually people – that are far more important. Slowing down helps us to live in the here and now. We’re more likely to notice and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that make this season so wonderful.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. The person who takes himself too seriously ends up being a pretentious, defensive man who works five times harder than necessary to try and prove himself. Meanwhile, he forgets to laugh – especially at himself. Laughing at yourself can be a great strength for fathers – and it can really help things go more smoothly this time of year.
- Be grateful. The Thanksgiving holiday should live on. Gratitude is at the heart of peace and contentment, and can radically alter how you go through the holiday season.
Dad, these steps are not easy. Contentment takes practice and real determination, but it will be a great benefit to your family.
- Talk with your kids about the idea of contentment, and whether that next toy they desperately want will really bring lasting satisfaction.
- At the dinner table, tell each family member one reason why you’re thankful for him or her.
- Schedule a family night where the main goal is laughter — lots of it.
- Brainstorm with your kids for a new holiday tradition you can start this year. (Make sure it fits with the 4 tips above.)