By now, school is out for most students and summer has officially begun. As much as I loved having my children home during the summer months, there was always an adjustment period. It usually took me about a week to transition, to get used to having more people in the house, no longer being able to enjoy a relaxing lunch, and spending a good percentage of my time in the car. Once in a while, the situation–no, I got a little nervy before the transition was complete.
Now that my kids are grown into responsible adults that I love being with, I sometimes sit back and think, “How did we do that?” How did we manage to avoid so many of the trials and conflicts that other families experience? I do not claim to be an expert. I learned a long time ago that every time I set myself up as the example to follow, my kids knocked me right off that pedestal. Kept me humble.
1. I love you. Simple. Elementary. But so many times, we rush out the door to school or work and forget to say those three simple words. One morning, I was walking through our neighborhood around the time people were getting their kids to school. A minivan drove past me and, even with all the windows closed, the angry voice I heard from inside made me cringe. The van stopped. I heard more yelling though I couldn’t tell what was said. The passenger side door opened, and a girl stepped out. She wore a backpack and I guessed her to be around 7 or 8 years old. The door closed and the van pulled away. She looked so forlorn and I shuddered to think what her day would be like when it started this way. We all have days like that mom. I’ve been tempted to do that very thing at times. But Parents, we need to always, always tell our kids “I love you” before we send them off into the world. No matter what disagreements and conflicts have taken place, before they go out the door, let them know they are loved. No matter what.
2. I’m proud of you. This is easy to say when our kids excel. But what about when they’re struggling? When they fail a test they studied for? When a friend betrays them or breaks off the relationship? When they’ve done something childish or stupid? That may be the very time they most need to hear you say, “I’m proud of you.” I’m proud of you anyway. Proud to be your parent. Proud to call you my son or daughter. They might feel like the world is against them, but when they hear this, they know there’s at least one person on their side. And that can make all the difference in the world.
Come back next week and we’ll talk about two more things kids need to hear.