“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.”
When I think about my family, I realize that I am the richest woman in the world.
I have a husband who adores me, and three children who do too.
Recently each one of my children wrote me a letter that rocked my world. In particular there was a one from my daughter that just blew me away. I was not just impressed, I was moved to a pile of tears. I won't share it all with you here except for the photo I've included above, but I will just say it was incredible.
Today I'd like to share with you a few things that have been proven true time and again in raising my children. I'm not the perfect parent and they aren't the perfect children. However, we are perfect for each other. All three of my kids love me, and more importantly they love Jesus. I know the jury is still out on their future somewhat as they are just 12, 18, and 19 (20 next week!), but so far we've done pretty well. So here are some things that have been important to me so far on this journey:
1) Admit your faults readily and don't make excuses. I've made a ton of mistakes as a parent. Scores of them. And I've told the kids often how sorry I am for those mistakes right away. One thing I've always believed is that kids are very forgiving if you just own up to your mistakes immediately and apologize and don't justify, blameshift or make excuses. It's important to own your mistakes and sins and move on. Covering things up or being defensive just makes kids think you are a hypocrite and they can see right through it a million miles away.
2) Lavish love on them with words. I never wanted my kids to doubt my love for them or have to ask me how I feel about them. Kids shouldn't have to wonder how their parents feel about them, or ponder about whether we are proud of them. These things should be well known and not just facts they know in their heads, but realities they know in their hearts. I want them to know I love them unconditionally and believe they are the most beautiful, amazing people on the planet. Every day since the beginning of her life, I've said things to Savanna like, "How did you get so beautiful?" (Said with huge smile!) Or, "How's the most amazing girl in the world today?" I say this stuff constantly and she never tires of it. Our kids need to see our eyes light up when they walk in the room.
3) Heap affection on them even when they act like they don't want it. It's important to hug on them, give them sweet kisses, and snuggle up when you watch movies. These are all things that I believe kids love whether they act like it or not. I still cozy up to the boys on the couch, and hold Savanna on my lap when we talk about stuff at the end of the day. Sometimes when I go in to wake her up I lay down beside her. I always tell them, I'll still be holding them when I'm in my seventies and they are in their fifties!