“I love you, Dad!” she shouted across the cafeteria full of kids and teachers as I was walking out the door.
Too embarrassed to yell back across a room full of people, I just turned around and waved and quickly blew a little kiss. I noticed a grin on her teacher’s face when I glanced back.
I walked down the hall and out the front door of the school headed to work with tears running down my cheeks and a big smile on my face and this immense sense of joy and fulfillment in my heart!
Yes, she loves me, her pseudo-Dad like I’m her real Dad, and she’s not ashamed to let everybody know it!
Through the circumstances of my life I have become and am a parent, grand-parent and single-parent. I don’t claim any particular proficiency in any of these parenting roles, so I normally don’t try to give advice on any of these on this blog.
But, I realized in that moment, in that genuine and bold declaration of love voiced above the chatter and clatter of the school cafeteria for everyone to hear, that there is something important and fundamental to parenting, grand-parenting and single-parenting, that I have actually learned in my years of experience.
Yes, there is something I know about about parenting, something that is quite necessary to make parenting work as it was meant to work. I know about loving children. I know about loving children as a parent, grandparent, and single parent and I’ve learned some things along the way about why you should love your children.
You’re probably thinking that you already know why you love your children and you don’t need me to tell you. After all, they’re your children. So you love them!
Certainly, that’s the most important reason why you love them. They’re your children! You made them or you chose them! So, you love them! You love them because you care for them, because you are charged with their care!
But, in addition to that one main reason–because they’re yours–there’s some other reasons why you should love your children that I have learned about during my tenure as a parent, grandparent and single parent. Perhaps you already know most of the reasons I am about to list but maybe haven’t given them much consideration lately as you go about the chaos of parenting.
Hopefully, this list will again remind us how important our children are, how important it is for us to love them, and how important it is for them to know that we love them!
Sure, you love your children because they’re yours, but here’s seven more reasons why you should love your children:
1. Because they love you unconditionally. You love them because they’re your children, but they love you because you are their parents, grandparents, step-parents, foster parents. Children don’t ask why, they just love you because they belong to you.
2. Because they will grow up into a loving person. They learn how to love others by the way you love them. They learn how to have a loving relationship with others–friends, siblings, parents, future spouses and even God–according to the loving relationship you have with them.
3. Because they need you to love them. Being loved and accepted is a fundamental need of human beings, especially little ones with developing psyches. The reassurance of being loved makes them feel safe and secure. And, little people can’t become self-actualized big people until they feel safe and secure in this world.
4. Because they need to know they are important. Loving your children develops in them a sense of self-worth, a sense of belonging. They learn that as a human being they are important to someone. And, when you feel you are important to someone, then it gives your life meaning and significance and you know you belong in this world.
5. Because they need to learn how to give love. They love because you first loved them. They learn that when you give love, then you receive love in return.
6. Because love builds character: kindness, compassion, hope, trust, faith, just to name a few. Love is the basis for character development. “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love,” the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:13. Love is how we come to know God and that God loves us. “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:15).
7. Because they are your reason, they are THE reason. You are building a legacy through your children. Children are our link to the future, to eternity. Our lives are extended through our children’s minds and hearts and the character that we helped them develop. They are our hope for the future. They are our future!
For the love of our children is the reason why we do all that we do….for our children…
It’s all FOR THE CHILDREN!
“He commanded our ancestors to teach…their children, so the next generation might know…even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God.” (Psalm 78:5-7)