Monday, June 20, 2011

What It Means To Love Your Children And For Them To Love You Back

Love is an amazing feeling. Unconditional love is priceless. To give love, to be able to give love, is a great gift. To receive love is a blessing. When you find a partner that you can share love with- true, unconditional love- you are two of the luckiest people on earth. If you are blessed with children, whether naturally, through adoption, or other means, your heart and your ability to love grows an infinite amount.
Children are amazing beings. When nourished, provided for, given positive attention and love, children grow into happy adults. Unfortunately, there are those children that are denied one or more of these necessities. Sadly, these children develop problems throughout their lives. Lack of love can lead to emotional and mental issues. It can even effect children physically. Love is not just a feeling, it is a necessity. It is sustenance. Children need to feel loved. Adults need to feel loved.
Having seven children of my own (yes you read correctly), my husband and I are surrounded (some may say outnumbered-we pray there is never a mutiny!) by seven beautiful miracles. Each one of them shares love in a different way. But that's the key; they share love.
The more children we had, the more my husband feared that we couldn't possibly divide our love and attention equally among them. Chalk that fear up to the "we are about to become parents again" paranoia. I simply did not share this fear due to the fact that I carried each child and already had that unbreakable in-utero bond. As each pregnancy progressed, my husband's big heart swallowed all his fears. He was and is so capable of love. He possesses the strength and courage to demonstrate love for us all.
It seems strange, but there are those people that are unable to say or show their families that they love them. It's not neccessary to shower them with gifts. Love is a gift. It's as simple as saying "I love you" or giving a hug, a kiss, help with a project, or a pat on the back.
Children however, seem to know just what to do, and when to do it. When you give them love, they return it doublefold. They can sense your emotions as easily as you can sense theirs. My oldest is sixteen and right now is more interested in his girlfriend than his parents, but he still gives us hugs and says, "I love you mommy." He offers to clean up or watch the baby for a little while. He does his best to act authoritative and take charge when my husband and I are helping one of the other kids or making dinner. Our second oldest has become very loving and snuggly this year. He is 12 1/2 and entered middle school this past year. He tells me about his day, he lets me know he needs me, and he still comes up to me on the couch and sits on my lap. He does his best in everything just because he wants us to be proud and he wants to be proud of himself. Our third child is eleven, and he has always been lovey-dovey. He loves to cuddle and snuggle up on the couch with me. He is very nurturing and caring, especially when it comes to his little sisters. One of these days, he's gonna knock some girl out with his beautiful dimply smile! I can always count on his "sneak-attack" hugs. It's hard to feel sad around him. Our fourth child is 8 and loves to write us notes saying "I love you mom and dad." He draws pictures of us all together- he is a fantastic artist. He tries very hard to please everyone and really enjoys spending time together as a family. He is quite the entertainer and has a terrific voice. Our youngest son who is five does his best to nap in my lap everyday (that is until I went back to work recently). He is very affectionate. He often says "I love you" out of the blue, tells me I am beautiful and cute, and loves to learn new things. He also has one heck of an arm in baseball. Our oldest daughter is three and is so full of love that she is adored by everyone. She is very cuddly and her hugs usually come with "You're the best" or "I love you" or my personal fav-"You're my best friend." To hear her say those things amazes me and warms my heart. That leaves our youngest and second daughter who is one. She has learned to say "love you" and blow kisses, and she gives hugs while patting your back. Even at two in the morning when she ends up in our bed I can't help but squeeze her and smother her with kisses!
My husband and I are very proud of our family. We may not have the nicest house or the coolest car, but we do have a very loving family. Who needs more than that? In February, our pastor at church did a sermon series called "Love First." Let me just say that during those Sundays, I was captivated by his words and what the Bible had to say about love. Here are a few things that I learned:
  1. "Love is supernatural because it lasts forever." In 1 Corinthians 13:13 it says, "These three things continue forever. Faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love."
  2. "Love bears all things." We must be willing to forgive, to accept, and to protect. No one is perfect. We must do these things with grace.
  3. Love means we believe and trust all things. "Love gives the benefit of the doubt. Faith and love are intertwined because love is built on trust."
  4. Jesus said in John 13:34, "I am giving you a new commandment; love each other in the same way that I have loved you."
  5. The NIV says love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres." The NLT says "love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." And the KJV says, "love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
These quotes were taken from my church bulletin. Three different versions of the Bible say such similar things. It must be true.

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