The A.W.E. To-Do List

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. –Hebrews 3:13

When our children were much younger, Cathy and I came up with a daily “A.W.E. (Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) To-Do List.” We didn’t follow it legalistically, but rather used it as our guideline for intentionally bringing A.W.E. into the home. We tried to keep the spirits of our children open and give them a sense of security and love.

1. Say “I love you.” Remind your kids every day that you love them. The positive reinforcement and verbal reminder of unconditional love will give your children the ability to go on even during tough times and it will help them say no to temptation.

2. Show physical affection. Meaningful touches and hugs, kisses and even high fives bolster a young person’s self-image. A real sense of security, self-worth and meaning comes from appropriate affection.

3. Listen. When your kids know you are really listening to them, they will sense how significant they are to you. Listening is the language of love.

4. Use eye contact. As parents we sometimes become so busy that we can forget how important body language and eye contact are in letting our children know that we care. With our eyes focused on them, we can show our hearts are focused on them as well.

5. Pray daily. A daily time of prayer with our children helps them grasp how important God is in our lives. Prayer time should be a warm, wonderful, loving part of our children’s lives.

Creating a home with A.W.E. isn’t always easy. This is especially true if you came from a shame-based family yourself. But what kind of home would you rather have? What kind of home is more successful? It starts with a proactive approach to parenting, and the result is a close-knit family with kids ready to become responsible adults.

1. From the list above, which of the to-do items do you feel that you need most to work on with your family?

2. Consider how implementing this to-do list looks like in your own family circumstances.

Romans 12:10; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 2:22, 3:8

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

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