We’re about to experience one of the most annoying holidays I can imagine.
I know. I know.
The ladies are gasping right now, but I truly hate this holiday for ONE (count that, ladies….”one”) reason only:
The commercial side.
I DO love the kindness, the romance…I just hate it being shoved down my throat at every turn, that’s all.
The expectation, rather than the free will giving.
However, I DO take advantage of this holiday each and every year.
…by spending time with my children in acts of service and to foster a natural love for others.
This, in turn, allows my wife and I to be even bolder in our expressions of love back.
That being said…and no one threw any rotten tomatoes at me, I’d like to do a three part series on what I believe is the basic foundation principle of a parent.
At least in my own mind, anyway.
Which should be love.
Love is a big subject.
…especially when the world has distorted, misused, chopped up, mutilated and all but destroyed the definition of the word.
From a loving mother, holding her new child in her arms after birth, whispering to it for the first time….to the perversions of what Hollywood would have you believe, “Love” is defined as many things.
We have tough love, unconditional love, paternal love, brotherly love, the love between a husband and wife, even a ‘love of violence’.
So where do we place ourselves as parents when it comes to love in conjunction with our little ones?
I have spent some time reading, talking with my children and even heard a great sermon in church Sunday ON Love, and it deserves to be looked at closely.
In wondering how my children felt, I set my yellow pad down and called out to a few of my older children.
I asked them if they knew mom and I loved them.
They just chuckled and said “Of course!”
But when I asked them how, they looked puzzled.
They couldn’t clarify at first.
Nothing came to any of them, until the oldest jabbed her little sister in the shoulder and laughed: “I know you love Lei, because you didn’t send her back for a working model!”.
It took them some time, but they finally told me they knew they were loved because of a structure we had in our home.
When they thought about it, every action and decision Kathi and I made concerning them was engineered for their development.
For their progression and their good.
My oldest daughter added that the pattern was there, even when they didn’t see it at first.
There were times when my children witness the conduct of their friends towards their own parents, especially the mothers.
Conduct that would make them cringe.
It was completely unacceptable behavior and they would come home, embarrassed for themselves…and their friends.
“Why would they do that (or say that) to their own mother?” they would ask.
Oh, my kids have struggles like any other youth and they have good days and bad days.
My goal is just to help them have far more of the good days.
I took the question next to my Sunday School class.
I’m a strict adult, very abrupt, but for some strange reason, the kids want me back each year.
That’s gone on for over 13 years.
Standing before 14 twelve year olds (mostly girls), I snapped openly at them, “Do I hate you guys?”
The room burst into giggles and an occasional laugh.
“No,” they replied.
“But I yell at you often!” I bellowed, making sure to do so with a realistic scowl on my face.
One young lady smiled back.
“But you love love us anyway.”
I cracked a smile.
I couldn’t help it!
They were right.
I loved each of them and prided myself on having the brightest kids in Church.
I don’t hug them.
I don’t change their diapers or feed them.
They don’t live with me and I don’t provide for them.
In fact, I tell them stories and frequently call them ‘little craps’ when they act badly.
Yet they come back, week after week.
Parents thank me and often say their child has never loved church so much.
How can that be???
What kind of love produces that type of result?
Is it the same type of love my own children experience in our family?
Think about it.
More about Jaime Buckley: Author, illustrator & Dad of 12. Builder of Worlds, Maker of Heroes, Slayer of Monsters. Loves God, family, country & cheese. Mmmmm, cheese. Learn more at www.jaimebuckley.com