“The 30-Day ‘I Love You’ Challenge,” New Era, August 2016, 10–12
How often do you say, “I love you”? Can you say it more? (Trick question. The answer is always YES!) It can be easy to forget those simple words, but saying them out loud and showing that love to your family can make a big difference.
One young woman from Utah, USA, learned this lesson when she was struggling to create a better relationship with her dad. They were having a hard time getting along, and she was praying for help and strength to know how to heal their relationship. One day, she felt like she should tell her dad she loved him. But that was something her family didn’t say very much. Their love was understood in how they acted around each other, but actually saying the words I love you was not a normal occurrence in their house. Still, she felt like she needed to do it.
She mustered up her courage, looked at her dad, and said, “Dad, I love you.” It caught everyone by surprise. Her dad looked up at her and replied with a slight catch in his voice, “I love you too.”
It was a simple step, but from that day forward, her whole family started saying those words to each other, and they’ve been saying it ever since. Of course, it doesn’t always happen exactly like that; another young woman tried it several years ago, and it took her family a couple of years to start saying “I love you” back to her (and then to each other). But she kept saying it, and she could tell it made a difference. And those changes come not just through words but also through actions!
How can showing love strengthen your family? Try it out! Here’s a challenge for you: for 30 days, find a way to say “I love you” to your family each day. If you need ideas, here are 30 ways you can tell your family you love them—in addition to saying those three little words. Try a different idea each day. Or pick one, two, or a few you specifically want to turn into a regular habit, and work on those. You can even scrap this list and make a completely different list of ways you want to say “I love you” that’s unique to your family. The key is to intentionally show love for 30 days. After 30 days, you can share what happened by leaving a comment on lds.org/go/loveNE816.
Give a family member a hug unexpectedly.
Write down positive things about your siblings in your journal, and say at least one of them out loud to each of them.
Do something your brother or sister likes you to do, even if you don’t like it.
Put away the dishes after dinner—without being asked.
Read a story to your younger sibling.
Surprise a sibling by doing his or her least favorite chore. Better yet, do it together!
Let your sister or brother sit in the front seat of the car—and tell them why.
Cheer on a sibling at a sports event or bring a personalized note to say congratulations at a music or dance recital.
Take a sibling out for lunch or ice cream or even just make them a snack after school.
Let your sibling borrow your favorite shirt.
Sit down and talk with your family members just to chat. Share stories about your favorite memories and ask your parents or grandparents to share stories about their lives. (You could even record audio to post in the Memories section of FamilySearch.org!)
Exercise with your family.
Teach a sibling a new skill. Anything from family history to sports to how to tie a shoe.
Let your sister or brother pick out the movie for a family night.
Tell your parents about how your date went.
Bake a treat or cook a meal with your family.
Babysit your younger siblings, nieces, nephews, or younger cousins.
Plan an entire family home evening (with your parents’ permission).
Let your siblings hang out with you and your friends.
Take pictures of your siblings doing their favorite hobbies and make a photo collage for them.
Share some family names you’ve found with your family, and go to the temple together to do the work for those ancestors.
If you drive, offer to give your siblings a ride somewhere.
Call a grandparent or distant family member just to chat.
Bring home a flower for your mom or sister.
Compile a music playlist of a family member’s favorite music.
Pray for specific family members and their needs during family and individual prayer.
Help siblings with homework.
Work with your siblings on a top-secret surprise project to help Mom and Dad with something.
Talk positively about your parents and siblings to others.
Actually say, “I love you”!