This has been a fun little series of posts for me. It has really helped me…gosh, I hope it has helped you, too!
As I have written these entries, they have reminded me of the simple yet awesome miracle of being a parent, and also how important it is to raise our children in a positive manner. Teaching them to love themselves for who they are, and that they are worthy of great things really establishes a base for them to build on in their loves. Helping them find their talents and gifts and being supportive of their dreams allows them to flourish and reach their full potential. Then, teaching them to work hard at what they love to do, and remaining a living, breathing, coaching, caring, supportive and involved presence in their lives holds it all together. It’s great stuff! I hope that it makes sense…I tend to ramble when I get started about kids. Just one of my passions in this crazy world…
I think if I wouldn’t have had to write 30 blogs in 30 days as part of the challenge from my friend Connie Green, I might not have made this a 6 part series. I might have just posted one blog, and then talked about all of the other stuff to varying degrees in other posts. And if I had done that, I think I would have made sure that the theme of that one blog was love.
If there is nothing else that we can remember or apply to our lives, I think that when it comes to kids, the most important thing we can give them, show them, teach them, and raise them with is unconditional and unwavering love.
Allow your kids to love. Let them love who they are, and what they do. Let them love their family, their friends, and the world at large. It starts to sound real idealistic when you repeat it over and over, but love is really the force that makes all great things happen. It is a positive force, no matter how it is applied.
Love is amazing, and the child that learns this, and feels this, and continues to grow in love will have the greatest chance of having a full and abundant life. The cool thing about love is that it is perpetual. When you love yourself you are able to love others. When you love others, they have no choice but to love you back. And when others show you love, it is easy to reciprocate. Yes, indeed, it does make the world go round!
Now when I talk about self-love, I don’t want you to associate that with conceit or arrogance. What I mean by loving ourselves, and teaching our kids to love themselves is to embrace the individuals that we are. It means to understand that we are unique and that we are worthy. It is realizing that we are sculpted in the Creator’s image, and are set here with a purpose too important and maybe even profound for anyone else to understand. That sounds better, right? Well, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Hatred and bigotry are nasty and destructive things. And they are also learned. If you show your kids that it’s okay to hate something, they will retain that information. If you are not accepting of others, your children will grow to be that same way. Now look, I’m not saying that you have to agree with everybody, that seems rather wishy-washy to me, and in some cases downright stupid. There are plenty of people out there who are not worth listening to or following, and I think your kids should be made aware of that when they can start comprehending that type of thing. But hate is awful and has no place in a healthy family or the successful upbringing of a child.
You will form opinions and beliefs, and they will be based upon the truths that you have discovered, and then you will stick to them. That’s called conviction. And conviction is not the same as closed-mindedness. Just like open mindedness isn’t having a mind that flips and flops. There is actually a place in between these two positions. It is having a heart that is open and understanding, and that realizes there are people who have different beliefs, and that we can all coexist. That is based in love. And that conquers all things!
There’s a great passage from the Bible that talks specifically about love. It describes the characteristics, talks about how powerful it is, and is really a moving text. I want to share it with you here. It’s found in Corinthians chapter 13. I won’t quote the entire chapter, but just listen to this excerpt from verses 1-8:
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Love your kids.