Set an ex­am­ple for your neg­a­tive fam­ily mem­bers

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

Ev­ery year we de­bate whether or not to in­vite my aunt for Thanks­giv­ing. She’s a very neg­a­tive per­son who spends her whole time com­plain­ing and crit­i­ciz­ing ev­ery­one. Would she get the mes­sage if we didn’t in­vite her this year?

Q: A: — Mrs. A.F.

From what you say, I hon­estly doubt if she’ll “get the mes­sage” if you don’t in­vite her for Thanks­giv­ing. In­stead, you’ll prob­a­bly just give her an­other ex­cuse to com­plain and crit­i­cize you.

In­stead of see­ing her as a prob­lem, let me en­cour­age you to see her pres­ence with you as an op­por­tu­nity — an op­por­tu­nity to help her over­come her neg­a­tive out­look. Does this sound un­re­al­is­tic? Yes, it prob­a­bly does, and it may not hap­pen all at once — but with God’s help, her time with you could be a turn­ing point. Pray for her — be­gin­ning to­day — and pray too that God will give you pa­tience and wis­dom and kind words.

What can you do? First, give her some­thing to do that will keep her busy. Not only will it keep her oc­cu­pied, but it’ll let her know that you value her. Some peo­ple crit­i­cize or com­plain be­cause they feel left out. Seek ways to chan­nel this.

Then go out of your way to make this a time of true Thanks­giv­ing. You might even go around the ta­ble and let ev­ery­one ex­press why they’re thank­ful this year. Re­mem­ber: thank­ful­ness al­ways over­whelms in­grat­i­tude.

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