Let’s Talk About True “Love”
Love is on my mind. Maybe it’s on yours, too, since Valentine’s Day is Wednesday.
If this year’s celebration is like last year’s, this year, it’s projected that we’ll spend $19.6 billion dollars. More than a third of that will be spent on flowers. This week!
Wishing children a Happy Valentine’s Day can be harmless. It can be encouraging. It can also be hurtful. Really? Yes.
Children who are rarely told they’re loved or who don’t feel loved can resent “love” expressed on Valentine’s Day. “Love” assigned to a holiday feels especially forced. Kids know it’s somewhat required so it’s not meaningful. It’s not real. In cases like this, our comments will fall on deaf ears. Their hearts won’t be open. They closed a while ago and it will take much more than a phrase, a teddy bear, a gift card, or a dinner in their favorite restaurant to awaken them.
Let’s love kids passionately –“having or showing strong feelings; full of passion”
- Kids shouldn’t doubt our love. Our emotions for them should be compelling and result in certain attitudes and actions.
Personally –“having to do with the character, personality, intimate affairs, conduct, etc. of a certain person”
- Kids feel loved when they feel known for who they really are. This allows us to express our love using words they respond to and to give gifts they’ll appreciate.
Individually –“one at a time; separately; singly”
- Spending one-on-one time with a child is one of the best ways to let them know how important they are to us. When they’re with us without siblings, they will be more able to hear us and to share significant things with us.
Purposefully – “resolutely aiming at a specific goal; directed toward a specific end; not meaningless”
- What are our goals for this encounter? Do we want our daughter to know what we’ve noticed about her that’s unique? Do we want to affirm the wisdom we see developing in our oldest son? Does our middle daughter need to be reminded that we love her sense of humor? Specific language and affirmations are memorable and meaningful.
Spontaneously – “acting in accordance with or resulting from a natural feeling, impulse, or tendency, without any constraint, effort, or premeditation”
- Having purpose is wise, but that doesn’t mean we plan every conversation or activity. Sometimes going with the flow means more to kids than anything else.
Regularly –“usual; customary; established; consistent or habitual in action”
- Expressing our love and commitment to our kids consistently and regularly is essential if we want our influence to be a firm foundation they can turn to when they’re challenged by life’s circumstances. This is also what allows them to hear “Happy Valentine’s Day” and believe we mean it.
Timely –“happening, done, said, etc. at a suitable time; well-timed; opportune”
- We need to be fully present and alert to each moment so we can communicate love through word and deed at times when it can be fully received.
Sacrificially –“the act of giving up or forgoing something valued for the sake of something having a more pressing claim”
- When kids see us close our laptop, put our papers down, and change our plans to spend time with them shooting hoops, coloring, or completing a puzzle, they feel loved. When our daughter hears us say on the phone, “Lizzy just came home from school, I need to hang up to talk with her,” she knows she matters.
Unconditionally –“without conditions or reservations; absolute”
- Loving and expressing that love during hard times of disappointment is essential. It’s the foundation of security. It’s probably the most Christlike love. His love never ends and ours shouldn’t. When our “like” fades, love must remain.
Love – Love – Love – Love – Love – Love – Love – Love – Love
passionately, personally, individually, purposefully,
spontaneously, regularly, timely, sacrificially, unconditionally
By the way, if you want to apply these ideas to a spouse or your parents, that’s fine with me. 🙂