We all have busy lives, and hectic schedules. We have our own challenges, our own hurdles to overcome, and sometimes it’s not easy to step back from the complexities of our own lives and see a slightly bigger picture.
Perhaps when reading this, you’ve had a stressful day. Perhaps you have a child or children and they have pushed you to the ends of your tether, maybe they have been rude, or obstreperous, or violent, or simply horrible. Perhaps they wouldn’t go to bed when they were supposed to, or woke you in the middle of the night, or shouted at you. All of these things can happen with no regard to whatever else is going on in your life. Children are self-centered until they are taught to be otherwise so they don’t know, don’t understand or don’t care what other pressures you may be under. Is this familiar? Well, we all know that being a parent can be both hugely rewarding and downright challenging – sometimes at the same time.
“What has this to do with the Most Important thing I’ll do today,” I hear you say. I’m coming to that. Before I do, can you answer me this question – What is the one thing that any parent can give a child, regardless of health, wealth, ethnicity, family background, or indeed, anything else? What is, in fact, the one duty of a parent, over and above all other things? In my view, the fundamental purpose of all parenting is to give children unquestioning, unchanging, unwavering love. More than food, more than shelter, though obviously these things are fundamental too, but without love, no amount of care, attention or worldly possessions will make up for what the child is missing.
There is only one thing that is even more important that this, and that is, that your child or children should know categorically that you love them. Not guess, not hope, but KNOW. Being secure in the knowledge of your love and knowing it to be unwavering and unconditional will provide your child with the bedrock of certainty and security from which all growth and strength of character will stem. There will be those that say, of course, regardless of whatever else has happened, of course my child knows that I love them, and to them I would say – how do they know? It may be self evident to you, because you know what you feel, you live with it, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that you child knows.
So….. whether you’ve had a great day with them, or, even more importantly, when they have challenged you or pushed you beyond patience, when you’ve had a row, or everything has ended in tears, and whether your child is a little bump under your clothing, a young man or woman, or anything in between,the most important thing you will do today, is to tell them that you love them.
Say it today. Say it every day.