Teaching Kids About Love In Our Homes
‘Tis the Season!
No, not that season, the Valentine’s Day Season!
With all the messages about love on TV and in social media in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, how about a little refresher course on love for parents and teachers? Here are three simple things to consider as you think about teaching kids about love in our homes, day in and day out.
It’s About What You Say
I can still remember how I once said a wrong and hurtful thing. Back when cameras needed film, I had a new roll, and curious little fingers pulled it completely out exposing it to light. I couldn’t believe it! My new roll of film, ruined! I yelled at the children and made them all cry… over a $3 roll of film. Looking back, I still feel bad about what I said. I deeply regret the injured spirit of a curious little girl who merely wondered what would happen if you pulled that thing out of its little canister.
Let me make two suggestions. First, check what you say. You may not need to say the first thing that comes to your mind. I know that I need to hold on to some words. Refrain from harsh, mean-spirited, and hurtful words. Second, use affirming words. Be appreciative and loving in your conversations.
It’s About How You Say It
I heard a counselor ask one time, “Would you talk to a guest in your home the same way that you talk to your child?” That’s so ridiculous it could make you laugh to think about excoriating some guest for a minor inconvenience that imposes on your schedule. We have to recognize that it is not just our words, but the harsh, drill sergeant tone that we can take with our children.
You may need an accountability partner. Agree with your spouse that you want to demonstrate love to your children in the way that you talk to them. Your spouse can help you see when the pressure and anger rise. Give your spouse permission to help you cool off, before you crush the spirit of a curious, growing, learning child.
Work out with your spouse a secret signal when you are about to ramp out of control. The funnier the better. Some possible signals that you need to slow down and walk away for a moment might be for your spouse to:
– Pull both ears out to the side of his/her head and cross eyes.
– Make “bunny ears” behind his/her own head.
– Spread fingers wide and place the palm of his/her hand deliberately over his/her mouth.
It’s Mostly About Modeling
Thankfully, kids are resilient as long as they know you love them. Love is not just about what you give them. Kids become what they see, so let them see love!
Show them how to respond in love in all situations. Demonstrate compassion and grace to your own family. Show genuine affection through physical touch to your spouse and children.
Follow the heart of the greatest commandment from Matthew 22:36-40 – love God and love others – – even your family!