Each and every day I tell both of our children that I love them. Not in passing or flippantly, but intentionally and with conviction. Our children are 5 and 2 years old, so they may not fully grasp the significance of it and there’s nothing particularly innovative or revolutionary about this practice. However, having been a teacher and being married to a teacher I know all too well that far too many children never hear those words, spoken intentionally, from their parents or guardians. At best they hear silence, and at worst they hear words of anger or discouragement.
Parenting is a most difficult undertaking, but taking a brief moment to speak those words is a deposit we all need to make. Some day our children will look back and remember particular days when our parenting wasn’t exactly varsity, or maybe we picked a spot where we were harder on them for one reason or another. But in light of those instances, they’ll remember how much we, as parents, loved them and made that reality known. Couple that with all the times we purposefully invest time in them and it can make all the difference in the their lives and development. They end up saying, “My parents weren’t perfect, but they loved me well, and I felt it,” rather than any number of negative outcomes they could experience, or views they could develop.