(Photo: ) SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com
Most of us see or talk to our families at least once a week. But how often does the chitchat include letting them know how much they mean to you?
That's the question we asked ourselves after seeing the heartfelt, bittersweet new movie
Philomena, which tells the true story of Philomena Lee, a 78-year-old Irish woman (played by Judi Dench) who spends her entire adult life searching for the long lost son she was forced to give up when she was young and unmarried.
Read on for our list of the most important things that should never be left unsaid when it comes to family.
Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments. Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. "I love you" Perhaps the most powerful words in the English language. Saying “I love you” lets your family member know she is not alone and that you care. The words also can help decrease fear in kids, and increase trust. As for the health benefits, simply holding someone’s hand relieves pain and makes you feel better, so if you find yourself tongue tied, give a hand squeeze to let your family member know how important she is to you. "Thank you" Not only does saying ”Thank you” make your family member feel appreciated and acknowledged, researchers at the University of California Davis found that people who show gratitude feel better about their lives, are more optimistic and in better health than people who aren’t. "I could use your help" Asking for help isn't always easy—we don’t want to be seen as a burden or weak. However, asking for assistance from family members gives them the opportunity to do a kind act, and be a star. By showing vulnerability you can also help a relationship feel more equal and bring you closer together. The other hidden benefit of asking for help: Research shows that kids do better when they ask for help, rather than being shown immediately how to do something—so your asking for help models good behavior for them. "I love to watch you play" What is the best thing you can say to your grandchild who is an aspiring athlete? In their article “ What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent and What Makes a Great One" former coaches Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC compiled decades of research from college students and found that the single best thing a parent (or grandparent!) can say is “I love watching you play.” In this culture of super-competitive sports and pressure to achieve, telling your grandchild how much you just enjoy him or her doing the sport they love is the best compliment you can give. "I was wrong" Accepting responsibility and owning up to our mistakes is one of the most important things we can do with family members. It is a way to mend relationships that are problematic. Apologizing can also help you feel better physically, according to research by Carol Osborn, Ph.D., author of 21 books about the boomer generation. Dr. Osborn studied 100 baby boomer women whom she considered to be well-adjusted role models for her book The Silver Pearl. She found that the main characteristic the women all shared was their knack for apologizing and straightening out problematic situations. Apologizing makes you feel better! "I've never told you that..." Sometimes it’s difficult for us to tell the people we care about most how much they mean to us. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by that prospect, just pick out one aspect of their personality and focus on that. Say, “I’ve never told you that I love the way you cook,” or “I’ve never told you that you have the best smile.” Giving a compliment makes the other person feel good about himself and appreciated. And when people feel appreciated, they are happier, which can boost health mentally and physically. "You made my day!" Perhaps the greatest gift we can give someone is to let him or her know how their actions affected us—how something they did made us happier, stronger, better. Letting them know they have made a difference is good for you and good for them. Read more from Grandparents.com: The Ultimate Grandparents' Guide to Football Season 2013 8 Tips for Grandparenting Unequally Gifted Kids 7 Ways to Pay Less at the Doctor With Gerry "At fifteen, when I was a high school junior, I had come upon a drawing in True Story magazine of a young man with dark hair and dark eyes. It had so epitomized my ideal boyfriend that I cut it out and put it in my wallet. It was still there the day I met Gerry Goffin. In the fall of 1958, when Gerry was nineteen and I was sixteen, he was a night student at Queens College ... One afternoon, while studying for a test in the student union with my friend Dorothy, I was having trouble concentrating ... I was just putting away my books when the door opened and Gerry walked in. My heart stopped. He looked exactly like the drawing in my wallet." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved Studio, 1957 One day when King was 15 years old, disk jockey Alan Freed from WINS "told me to look in the phone book under 'Record Companies,' make an appointment, and play my songs for the A&R Man." The very next day, King took the express subway train to Manhattan, walked into Atlantic Records' offices unannounced, and asked if she could play her songs for someone. Moments later, she was performing for Atlantic's legendary founders Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. "You got talent," declared Wexler, while Ertegun chimed in "Yeah, man, very soulful." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved Studio With Paul Simon And Gerry "When I entered Queens College in the fall of 1958 I had no idea that Art Garfunkle and Paul Simon were anything other than fellow freshmen until I saw their photo in a magazine with a caption identifying Artie as 'Tom' and Paul as 'Jerry'... Paul and I soon became friends. Among the things we had in common were a similarity of age and a desire to stay involved in writing and recording popular music. Hoping to earn some extra cash, we began making demos together as the Cousins. Paul played bass and guitar, I played piano, we both sang. Some songs were his, some were mine, and some were written by other people. The income was negligible, but we would have done it for nothing." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved With Lou Adler And Hank Cicalo At A&M Studios "People often ask if I knew, when I was recording Tapestry, that it would become one of the biggest-selling albums in popular music, or that it would touch so many people. How could I know that? I was simply doing what I'd always done -- recording songs that I had written or co-written ... If quality of songs and integrity of presentation were factors in Tapestry's success, so were the timing of its release, an extraordinary confluence of good luck, and the determination of Lou Adler to ensure that the album would be heard by as many people as possible." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved Recording 'Tapestry' With Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel, Charles Larkey And Ralph Schuckett "I didn't want to be a star ... Everyone around me thought I was out of my mind. I was being offered an opportunity for which so many people had been praying their whole life and all I could say was, 'Please believe me. I don't want to be a star.' My rationale was that I viewed success and stardom as two different things. Successful recording artists were played on the radio, were respected by the public, and had longevity. The songs they sang moved and inspired people. Stars were hounded and mobbed, their privacy was nonexistent, and they were under constant pressure to reach #1 and stay there... I didn't realize that I was expressing a guiding principle of my career. I was hoping for career longevity and to my utter amazement and eternal gratitude I achieved it. And if that weren't enough, one of my albums would actually reach #1 and stay there for a very long time. But Danny (Kortchmar) and I engaged in such conversations before Tapestry was released, when I had no way of knowing what my future held. I just wrote songs, worked hard, created each day's blueprint from scratch, and hoped to high heaven that I was doing all the right things to give my daughters and myself a good life." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved With James Taylor And Joni Mitchell Recording "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" "I was so deeply involved in the making of Tapestry that it's difficult for me to describe those happy, productive weeks in a logical or linear fashion. But these random scenes remain vibrantly alive for me in memory snapshots: -- James (Taylor) and Joni (Mitchell) sitting on adjoining stools, their heads almost touching as they whisper to each other and share a private moment before Hank is ready for them to sing background harmonies on Will You Love Me Tomorrow. Though James and Joni are singing on separate mics, their closeness is an almost physical presence. I can't tell you what specific frequency it occupies, but the intimacy between them can still be heard and felt on this recording. Grammys, 1972 "I attained the highest pinnacle of success to which a recording artist and songwriter could aspire: I was awarded four Grammys for my work on Tapestry ... (but) I didn't know what to do with my success. I didn't want the problems that came with being famous, and I didn't want my private life to be public. I just wanted to do what I'd been doing as a wife and mother ... I made clothes or everyone in the family, tended our small garden, and occasionally went to sushi lunch in Little Tokyo with my friend Stephanie. I taught at the Integral Yoga Institute and attended cooking classes at The Source. I continued to embarrass my Goffin daughters by bringing their vitamins to school. And I continued to bring home health food instead of the Cokes, Pepsis, and potato chips that Sherry wanted." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved Homeschooling Levi, 1978 King left the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles in the late '70s for the rural lifestyle of Idaho. For several years, King and her family lived in a cabin so remote that in the winter their only communication with the outside world was via something they called "ski-mail." King explains "visitors on cross-country skis brought our mail, and we sent mail out with them or other skiers ... We kept up with current events through a radio powered by two alternate twelve-volt car batteries that our neighbor periodically charged for us. In some ways our life at Burgdorf was complicated, but in other ways it was simple. Living this way brought everything down to basics." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved Testifying In DC For The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act "Over the seven decades of my life, my acts of giving back have included canvassing for civil rights in the 1960s, flipping burgers at a county fair, reading to children, reporting for a television news program on both the environment and illiteracy, and performing at benefits at locations ranging from grand hotel ballrooms to raise money for worthy causes to playing guitar on a flatbed trailer in a parking lot to raise money for a neighbor burned out of his home. But the project that has occupied literally half my time for over two decades has been educating staff, members of the United States Congress, and the public about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act." From A Natural Woman, by Carole King. © 2012 Eugenius, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved From The Collection Of Eugenia Gingold This article originally appeared on HuffPost.