Catchy, huh? My title? Of course, I date myself a bit when I pick a Tina Turner song tie in from 1984. I can’t help it, though. That’s the year my oldest son was born but what I mean is… what a GREAT question! What’s love got to do with it? Today, we hear the word, “love” offered up for our good feelings for just about anything.
Really… does it mean the same thing when I speak about my amazing relationship with my wife of 34 years as it does when I speak about how I feel about Dutch Crumb Apple Pie? Kinda silly, huh? And deceptive. When we begin to equate the concept of love—you know… that thing that God invented, and God is, and God wrote a whole book about—with something as tricky and fleeting as human feelings we’re headed for trouble. By the way, Tina got it wrong, too. Love isn’t a “second hand emotion”. Love is a choice. Real love is action. It’s doing what’s best for someone else especially when we don’t feel like it. Love is a decision. Falling in love? Falling out of love? There’s no such thing, biblically. There’s only choosing to act in love or choosing not to act in love. With that in mind, I’d like to share my top 10 list of ways to love—and I mean the action kind—your kids.
10. Set clear boundaries.
9. Let your “yes” mean yes and your “no” mean no.
8. Protect them from the Internet, TV, social and other media.
7. Allow “freedom” only as they prove responsible to manage it.
6. Know their friends and friend’s parents’, and their detailed contact information
5. Sit by a fire, outside, and tell stories that you make up as you go.
4. Listen to them—REALLY listen.
3. Tell them you love them… all the time… whether they’re 26 weeks or 26 years old.
2. Hug them… all the time… whether they’re 26 weeks or 26 years old.
1. Pray for them… all the time… you get the picture.
I have three sons, three daughters-in-law and 6 ½ grandkids. When my boys look back with me, they laugh about the extent to which my wife and I were involved in their lives as they were growing up.
Like the times—note the plural—when, in their early teens, they wanted to “go out” with a girl and I insisted on meeting with her and her parents, first. Imagine the surprise when I asked her parents, “What are your standards for sexual purity for your daughter?” From the answers I got a few years and a dozen or so families, this seemed to be a topic that was rarely, if ever, considered. The truth is, most of the parents I asked this question of thought it, and the fact that I was asking them to answer it, was strange. Me? Not so much. What I thought—and still think—is that any parenting methods that neglect such things are… well… strange. Any parenting standards that don’t include the responsibility to “inspect what the parent expects” is… well… strange. The idea that it’s okay to allow television shows and today’s media to teach our kids about life is… well… you guessed it—strange. And while my boys laugh and tease me about “invading their privacy”, today, I can tell by their faces that they get it. Today, as a family, you won’t find one happier or more closely knit.
Your kids are precious. Start early and be committed in demonstrating your love for them. It’s important. Because, in the end, love has everything to do with it.