Whitney Houston’s song, The Greatest Love of All was one of my all-time favorite songs growing up. When you really think about the lyrics, they’re pretty deep:
“I believe the children are our future; Teach them well and let them lead the way; Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be”
Who we are and who we become, really does boil down to how well we love ourselves, which is truly the greatest love of all (after the love of God Himself, of course). My kids are so comfortable in their own skin that even at two, four & six years of age, they tell each other how beautiful/handsome and smart they are. My girls understand that beauty is more than just putting on make-up. They tell me I’m beautiful whether my hair and make-up are done, or whether I have my hair all over the place and walking around plain face. My older daughter will play with little girls at the park she’s never met before and tell them how pretty they are, or compliment them on something they have on.
While we can only give what we have, it’s our duty and responsibility to acquire the things that we don’t have. When I think about the things I’m teaching my children that I had to learn, it’s also important to understand the things that our kids need most from us.
More than anything, children need and want to feel safe. Showing affection deomonstrates to them that we care, even when we may not be happy about something that they did. I once read about a study that said that children who are shown affection through hugging several times a day (or as much as they want), generally grow up to be independent. And the children who are either shown very little affection or are pushed away, tend to be insecure into adulthood. In looking at my own experience and those people close to me, I can definitely see the correlation.
2. Open Door Policy
I am working on building relationships with my children so that there is nothing that they would ever feel they couldn’t share with me. I want to be the first person they come to when they’re in trouble, even if it means they might get in trouble. I want them to always feel more comfort than fear because fear keeps us from doing things we should. I’m learning how to help my children express their feelings now, so as they get older, it will be much easier for them to do so, and do so freely.
I know even for me as an adult, a little encouragement goes a long way. When my kids get frustrated and feeling defeated with a task, we’ve taught them to say, “I’m having trouble, can you help me?” Instead of, “I can’t do this”. Once they realize it’s okay to ask for help, it encourages them to ask for it when they need to, but more importantly, to work harder to try and do it themselves.
Not only do they need to hear love in the home, but our children need to see love. They learn what they see, and chances are, if they’re not getting something they need at home, they will learn to look for it elsewhere. The love we instill in our children at a young age, is the love they will have for themselves as they grow older.
What other things would you add to the list that our children need to see or hear from us?