Every child needs to know they are loved, valued, and cherished.
It should be an obviously foundational truth that all mothers love their children, and for the most part I would venture that they all do, but sadly, many children do not feel loved, let alone cherished or valued. Many can't even remember the last time their mom or dad told them they loved them.
If you were to pull aside a few children at a school, or even out of youth group event to ask them if they felt loved by their parents, what do you think you would hear?
If a close friend of your teen asked them if they felt loved or if you had told them you loved them lately, what would the answer be?
Regardless of how much love you do have for your child, they need to be told that you love them. And they need to be reminded of it often.
You know how rough the world is. There are physical and emotional bullies, cyber-bullies, and then there are those who we open up our lives to, we allow them to see us, and they can fail us, because they are human.
Remember what it was like when you were a kid? You were trying to figure out who you were, what you believed in, and there were all those irrational thoughts and extreme emotions connected to your hormonal growth. You went in and out of doubting yourself, struggling to find your identity, and that enemy of ours tempted you to believe lies about yourself too.
Your son or daughter is experiencing much of those same things you did when you were growing up. And though you may be parenting them completely different than how you were raised, there is one thing that can make or break the confidence of your child, and that is knowing YOU LOVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT.
Your kiddo needs to know your love is loyal, fierce, trustworthy, honest, and totally unconditional.
So take time to remind your child just how much you love them.
I remember as a youth growing up and doubting if my parents loved me or the thought of having a good christian daughter. I tried so hard to win their approval by getting good grades, joining the band, and on and on. And even in the midst of working hard to be good, I knew I still fell short. So many youth feel this way and live to gain acceptance through performance. This is very dangerous because it trains them to grow their identity of themselves based around their performance, whether as a Christian or otherwise (climbing the corporate ladder, etc...).
Do your children know that they don't need to perform to gain your love? Do they know that there is nothing they can do to loose your love? And do you give them affirmation verbally, just for being them, not because of something they did or didn't do?
Here we find ourselves embarking on the busiest season of the year, one where we can find ourselves distracted by serving others outside our homes, giving to charity, serving in the Christmas nativity, and staying out late shopping for gifts to then go home and spend hours wrapping and hiding until Christmas morning. I know, you are tired just thinking about it, aren't you?
But I want to give you an encouragement, a challenge, to choose right now to be more aware of how often you do, or don't, say I love you!
Your child may be completely different from any of mine, but one thing every child craves is honest, heartfelt, sincere love. It should be spoken, and it needs be shown through various ways.
How does your child feel most loved?
What is their love language? What fills their love tank?